Where Is Embedded Cellular Connectivity Heading in the Age of Digital Transformation and Intelligence?

Embedded cellular connectivity by nature is not static, in terms of both its ability to serve moving objects, and the fact it provides a secure cellular channel that can enable dynamic future-looking capabilities. It is abundantly clear that cellular-enabled IoT connections will grow exponentially over the next 5 years, forecast to increase from 1.5 billion in 2023 to 6.5 billion by 2030. There is a clear demand for cellular as enterprises look to unlock digital transformation strategies. Enterprises are looking toward cellular as a connectivity technology that is reliable, wide reaching, global in nature, and future proof, as well as being a technology that can address the pain points of today and one that can grow and evolve to address the pain points of tomorrow. Embedded connectivity will unlock this growth opportunity thanks to purpose-built specifications designed to provide out-of-the-box connectivity, alongside new levels of implementation and ongoing management flexibility.

Embedded cellular connectivity is the foundational technology that enables Internet of Things (IoT) devices to communicate with one another and collaborate. This functionality underpins efficiencies, convenience, and, ultimately, digital optimization. Today, embedded cellular connectivity is moving past its original remit of digitally managing operator profiles. Thanks to Embedded Subscriber Identity Module (eSIM) platforms and hubs, such as TATA Communications MOVE™, new value-added services are being developed on the cloud and management side. The use of emerging and next-generation technologies will help further unleash the full IoT potential and unlock IoT digital transformation 2.0.

Today, embedded cellular connectivity continues to develop, seeding the market with eSIM-enabled devices, offering a wide range of form factors to ensure a device-agnostic approach. This is on top of the new SGP.32 specification, which has been tailor developed with the IoT in mind.

At the same time, embedded connectivity platforms and hubs are already making use of other technologies and capabilities to add further value. Embedded cellular connectivity is about more than connection enablement. Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs) such as TATA Communications, through its MOVE™ platform, are already able to offer a host of additional value-added services to enable digital Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). These services are designed to manage devices through their entire life cycle and bring to the fray capabilities that address enterprise pain points, offering enhanced levels of IoT device and management automation, optimization, and future proofing.

As covered in our earlier article titled IoT is Redefining Embedded Connectivity Demands, Use Cases, and Ecosystems, connect and forget is no longer an applicable cellular strategy and enterprises are demanding more value to justify embedded cellular connectivity investment. Vendors offering connectivity services need to clearly outline the potential Return on Investment (ROI), while also developing a product strategy that encompasses a long-thinking methodology; whereby embedded connectivity technology services can stand the test of time, adapt, evolve, and ultimately grow with enterprise business needs. This inherently means the ability to bolt on new value-added services and capabilities to provide a robust, modular, and future-proof technology/service; one that can fulfill today’s requirements and one that can adapt and integrate the latest technology innovations, for future-readiness.

Data and Intelligence Will Help Realize the Full Potential of the IoT—Improving Performance, Reliability, and Experience

As we enter the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it will undoubtedly have an impact on every technology market and sector, and embedded cellular connectivity platforms will not be excluded from the AI phenomenon. Intelligence is already being added to embedded cellular connectivity platforms to help automate processes, and AI is a tool that will further enhance automation and thus improve optimization.

But what can data and intelligence enable and how will this be beneficial to enterprises?

  • Expediated Trouble Shooting: Through AI monitoring, enterprises can speed up troubleshooting in order to minimize network downtime. This monitoring capability will be a key network element as enterprises look to reduce costly network downtime. Other technologies, including Machine Learning (ML) can be used to process vast amounts of data and help automate troubleshooting problems in what was previously a manual process.
  • Analyze Data in Real Time: Knowledge is power, and data is king, but there is little point in an enterprise collecting data, unless it can be turned into actionable insights that can feed into business decisions. The ability to analyze vast amounts of data in real time means taking action and making decisions at an earlier stage, enhancing enterprise operations through optimization and automation. The ability to quickly process data plays a significant role in enhancing and deploying predictive capabilities through the ability to spot trends, patterns, and abnormalities.
  • Predict and Prevent: Tied into the ability to analyze vast amounts of enterprise data is the ability for intelligence to predict and prevent incidents through analytics. The use of historical and current information can be used to foresee potential issues prior to an event.
  • Predict Maintenance and Fault Detection: Enterprises can predict failures before they occur by using data patterns that can be indicative of a future/up-and- coming network failure. Enterprises can act on maintenance requirements prior to adverse events in a proactive approach.
  • Identify Defects: Flag defects in real time and report on defect type. This capability will enable enterprises to optimize resource allocation by obtaining access to detailed defect reports and information in order to speed up the resolution process.
  • Optimize Bandwidth Allocation: Using intelligent platforms to monitor, in real time, network allocation and route traffic accordingly to avoid any traffic bottlenecks and to ensure bandwidth allocation is routed to the areas that require it the most.
  • Detect Fraud: Pinpoint and flag potentially fraudulent activity that might be missed by humans.

An embedded cellular connectivity service that can learn about an enterprise’s operation and automatically manage, shift, and adapt based on real-time data will be extremely beneficial. AI can address pain points in real time, enhance and revolutionize embedded cellular connectivity experiences, and help move operational needles, driving additional value and helping achieve ROI more quickly.

Embedded cellular connectivity form factors are fast becoming the de facto root of trust for value-added service enablement. Embedded connectivity is much more than the ability to optimize Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) logistics and stock, or migrating to a digital platform. This is just one minor use case for this technology, with the greater opportunity residing in the technology’s ability to be a platform for intelligent services. As the IoT grows, in terms of capabilities and size, back end intelligence will play an integral role in defining how the increased data are consumed and ultimately utilized to provide actionable insight for enterprise decisions.

Enterprises need to be mindful of the data they collect and process, thinking about how they can be repurposed and transitioned into insights, both in terms of predictability and real time, which can then be acted upon. Cellular connectivity intelligence presents the ability to monitor patterns, trends, and abnormalities, which can then be repurposed into a decision, further automating and optimizing a range of different network processes.

Embedded Cellular Connectivity Partner Focus: Making Sure Your Partner Is Getting It Right

Embedded cellular connectivity technology and the accompanying value-added services are constantly evolving and developing. Enterprises looking toward embedded cellular connectivity enablement should look to focus on the following items when choosing a partner:

  • A Partner for Now and One That Helps You Be Future-Ready: Ensure that your partner has a technology investment and development roadmap that includes not only emerging technologies, but also next-generation capabilities such as AI. Although an enterprise may already take advantage of services, the ability to further automate, optimize, and enhance through technologies such as AI should be top of mind.
  • Quality over Quantity: Enterprises should ask themselves who is best positioned to provide modular embedded cellular connectivity platforms and experiences and why? Each IoT application has different pain points and priorities. It’s not necessarily about the partner that manages the most devices, but about picking a partner that can provide tailor- made personalized services, paired with broad coverage and a clear roadmap for technology investment.
  • As IoT Fleets Grow, So Will the Data: Enterprises need to ensure their partner has the ability or roadmap in place to analyze increasing volumes of data. This places the emphasis back on next- generation investment into technologies such as AI to ensure actionable insights can be gathered and acted upon in near-real time.
  • Is Your Potential Partner Offering More Than Remote Profile Management/ Subscriptions? Many service providers continue to focus efforts on profile management through Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP) platforms. Although this has its own benefits, in terms of reducing operational costs related to removable SIM management and logistics, it doesn’t address the myriad other applications. Cellular embedded connectivity partners offering additional services and management capabilities, which are application- or vertical-specific are well positioned, having already developed solutions tailor-made to address specific business pain points.
  • Choose a Partner That Has a Modular Approach: A platform portfolio that encompasses different functionalities based on vertical, application, or end- market requirements demonstrates a clear understanding that different customers will have different priorities and pain points to address. Remember that end-to-end does not mean purpose-built. The TATA Communications MOVE™ platform has been built with modularity in mind. MOVE™ offers both vertical- and application- specific services, designed to address a host of industry needs and has a clear understanding of how the benefits of its solutions apply to industry-specific demands, fleshing out capabilities to address a multitude of verticals, including industrial, supply chain, aviation, and automotive. It is well positioned for the future, given its modular focus and will be able to integrate and invest in next-generation technologies such as AI and apply them effectively at a vertical/application level.

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