While the Internet of Things (IoT) is primarily associated with the industrial and enterprise markets, there is an adjacent opportunity emerging for Mobile Services Providers (MSPs) to spur the growth of a consumer IoT market. By 2023 the MSPs consumer IoT market will be worth US$6.6 billion according to ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.
“Consumer IoT is a nascent and fragmented market where connectivity is an essential enabler. For these reasons, MSPs can play a key role in driving the growth of the consumer IoT market from tracking applications to the connected car – direct to consumer (D2C),” said Pablo Tomasi, senior analyst at ABI Research.
“MSPs must find the right balance between their traditional connectivity centered business model and the need to grow the market and develop new use cases. MSPs have all the technology and expertise needed at their disposal from NB-IoT and LTE-M to eSIM and should act quickly to shape the direction of the market. For instance, by launching consumer IoT products with flexible business models, possibly bundled with current smartphones and data plans, MSPs can help to generate customer demand, which in turn will attract more OEM to produce consumer IoT devices,” he added
MSPs along with other tech companies have been slow to target this nascent market, with a few notable exceptions. Among MSPs, Vodafone has one of the most developed offerings in the consumer IoT space having launched multiple products in various countries and tailored a new brand “V by Vodafone” to unite its products.
While the MSP still has many challenges ahead and will need to fine-tune its offering and business model to drive the creation of a mass market, it has taken a first step in the right direction. Telia provides another example, with its connected car offering Telia Sense, which leverages a wide partner ecosystem including among others EasyPark – a parking company, Folksam – an insurance provider, and Viking – a roadside assistance company for the delivery of multiple services. Telia must now scale its offering to more markets and continue to increase its partner ecosystem to expand the value of its offering.
Tomasi believes that MSPs must look at their consumer IoT and smart home offerings and create a comprehensive strategy that will drive synergies to connect devices inside and outside of the home.
He sees MSPs as uniquely poised to shape the opportunity as they deliver broadband connectivity to the home, deliver video and pay TV services, and have started to enter the smart home via the security and automation vertical.
“Comcast and Telefonica are examples of this, with the former having developed a smart home business built from the home security vertical and the latter now targeting smart home via Aura, its AI virtual assistant. All these services along with consumer IoT solutions should be leveraged and aligned enabling MSPs to become a preferred digital and technology supplier for the customer both inside and outside of the home,” Tomasi concluded.