Analyzing Telco Network Hardware Vendors' IoT Platforms

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1Q 2017 | IN-4476

On January 31, 2017, Nokia announced a new update to its Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things (IMPACT) IoT platform. The new update provides pre-integrated applications such as video analytics, smart parking, smart lighting, and connected automotive. The platform previously supported connectivity standards such as Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) and CAT-M1. However, the new update expands its support to include connectivity to LoRaWAN and NB-IoT.

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Nokia Announces Update to its IMPACT IoT Platform

NEWS


On January 31, 2017, Nokia announced a new update to its Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things (IMPACT) IoT platform. The new update provides pre-integrated applications such as video analytics, smart parking, smart lighting, and connected automotive. The platform previously supported connectivity standards such as Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) and CAT-M1. However, the new update expands its support to include connectivity to LoRaWAN and NB-IoT. 

Moving Up the IoT Value Chain

IMPACT


Nokia’s IMPACT IoT platform offers a horizontal platform for all IoT applications with support for vertical IoT applications, targeting mobile network operators (MNOs) and emerging IoT network operators. Over the years, IoT and M2M witnessed growth across different vertical markets; however, the IoT platforms that integrate M2M vertical silos are starting to gain traction. Nokia’s strength lies in its existing relationships with network operators; moreover, it claims, supports, and manages over 1.5 billion devices through its device connectivity management (DCM) platform.  

Traditionally, telco platforms have been predominantly verticalized to manage specific customer applications such as smart metering or fleet management. Nokia’s IMPACT platform provides pre-integrated IoT applications such as smart parking, street lighting, video analytics, and automotive to accelerate telco’s time to market. The platform provides necessary tools to enable telcos to deploy and scale IoT applications securely while integrating its legacy device connectivity platform. The IMPACT platform claims to offer analytics-driven security with the capability to identify threats, and isolate and repair anomalies with over-the-air (OTA) security updates. Another key value proposition with IMPACT is the growing IoT community, offering the network operator a wide array of standards-based devices that are capable of quick onboarding, seamless integration, security, and interoperability across the platform, which can be valuable in accelerating IoT time to market. 

Is IMPACT Complementary to Telco Platforms, or Is It Competing with Them?

COMMENTARY


Telcos face increasing pressure to find new revenue streams as average revenue per connection (ARPC) continues to witness a downward spiral in most developed economies. Although IoT provides opportunity in connection growth, telcos are becoming aware of the potential revenue opportunities that lay beyond the connectivity layer of the IoT value chain. As businesses and service models continue to transform and adapt to this change, IoT software platforms are gaining prominence. GE, AT&T, Verizon, and Reliance Jio are some examples of companies making a concerted effort to expand their presence beyond the device and connectivity layers, targeting potential opportunities in managed IoT services. Some large telcos are integrating their M2M platforms with third-party IoT platforms; for example, Vodafone’s integration of its device connectivity platform with SAP’s HANA cloud platform.

Nokia's IMPACT platform not only competes with Ericsson’s APPIoT and Huawei’s OceanConnect IoT platforms, which are aimed at telco IoT market initiatives, but also competes with some layers of OEM vendors’ own application platforms. A key differentiator in Nokia’s IMPACT is that it also supports non-cellular LPWA technology LoRaWAN, which, in the last two years, witnessed substantial support from telcos such as SK Telecom, Orange, Bouygues Telecom, KPN, and SoftBank. A single platform that supports both cellular LPWA and LoRaWAN potentially offers a strategic advantage to telcos, as it delivers more tailored multi-tiered IoT service offerings to its customers.

However, Nokia’s target market is currently focused on enabling telcos IoT initiatives; in the long-term, it could also tap into growing demand from other network operators that are also looking to scale-up their existing networks to offer new IoT services, especially with LoRaWAN. The IMPACT platform also offers new market opportunities for private LPWA network operators; for example, utilities could leverage their existing communication network used to connect smart meters to potentially offer smart city solutions such as smart streetlighting or smart parking.

Furthermore, network hardware vendors’ IoT platforms can also be complementary to telco platforms by integrating different vertical silos and investing in a single open platform that supports a growing array of IoT applications. The open and modular IoT platform further allows for flexibility in integrating third-party applications that can be customized to meet niche IoT applications.