Navigating the Future: The Intersection of IoT, Edge Computing, and Business Transformation

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, it’s easy to overlook the broader implications of the progress we all are witnessing month after month. Advancements in technology demand not only innovation but also a framework that enables everyone to reap the benefits. As we prepare for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I am excited that Simetric, along with our patented platform, is leading the way in empowering the industry to bring the benefits of IoT and edge networking to enterprises far and wide.

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is on the horizon, and networking is poised to be a focal point once more.  Even ahead of the event, the likes of Accenture and EY have been writing some compelling editorials on the need for networks to be a major focus for business transformation. Their voice on this subject is louder than ever. I used to share with management teams visiting Cisco that the network is the foundation for sustainable digital transformation, security, and growth. I believe that more than ever, so I appreciate the efforts of these distinguished companies in raising awareness among their clients and others who stand to benefit from their expertise and foresight.

Where I find the discussion of networking so intriguing is with very limited exceptions companies write or speak about it from the mutual dependencies of success. It is often spoken of in a very narrow lane or technical component. Arguably, in no other scope are mutual dependencies more prevalent than when it comes to distributed networking efforts involving IoT and edge computing. Enterprises and major network operators are jointly tied together in these efforts. Change and opportunity are directly linked on both sides.  What lies ahead in the case of distributed networking is substantial change and opportunity.   

There is an awakening to the fact mobile network operators, “MNOs”, (i.e. connectivity service providers) are sitting on some of the largest growth opportunities for their companies.  Opportunities that can rival the introduction of the mobile phone. An estimated 30B connected IoT devices will be deployed by 2027. Almost one-third of those will be cellularly connected. The impediments to fully capitalize on those devices are both on the operator side and the enterprise side. However, those impediments are being addressed by the leaders on both sides causing others to follow suit.   

In our professional lives, we hear daily about generative AI, 5G, cloud, eSIMs, cyber security, and many other technologies all swirling around as though they are all isolated. When it comes to running a business, nothing is isolated. Certainly not when it comes to managing the level of change that lies in front of us all. 

For the MNOs, the discussion is on programmable networks, and achieving those requires not just a shift to their legacy networks, but to the networking capacities that better enable segmentation between voice and data (intelligent edge) devices. The MNOs recognize that the aforementioned technologies are not isolated, but rather all coalesce around the IoT and edge devices that will be essential to every business going forward. That enablement may also include empowering disruptive decisions like ‘bring your own network’ (BYON).   

Accounting for approximately 57% of those pending 30 billion devices will be LTE-M (long-term evolution for machines) and Northbound – IoT-empowered devices. Both technologies share a common technical enablement aimed at making a dependency on IoT and edge technologies much more affordable for the enterprises. 

On the MNO side, the need to capitalize on this epic shift to edge-driven businesses requires them to reimagine legacy technologies. One of the largest impediments for them is in connectivity management platforms (CMPs) built for a fundamentally different market. These CMPs are too expensive to operate and not equipped to enable either enterprises or the MNOs to fully capitalize on the full capacities of these business-critical distributed networking devices. The MNOs will need to find solutions to extend the current CMP architectures to support Enterprise customer needs across all connected devices. The MNOs are turning to a unified workflow, a single pane of glass platform to extend the current CMP architectures to support the breadth of their internal and customer needs across all connected devices.  

So, as enterprises confront all these swirling technologies, they are asking fundamental questions like, “How do I better see all my deployed devices in a unified manner?” “When do I make device shifts that enable my business?” and “How will the MNOs pivot to meet my distributed networking dependencies?” These are fundamental questions any business should be asking.

Simetric is essential in answering both sides of this dual dependency between the enterprises and the MNOs. Programmable networks will underpin any enterprise determining their paths with 5G, IoT, edge, security, private/public networks, and devices heavily influenced by AI.  They will also evolve the business models of MVNOs, resellers, and MNOs alike, as connectivity will remain essential, but more focus will be on managed device outcomes.  It is here that the legacy CMPs will be replaced with much more dynamic IoT-centric CMPs that will meet the likes of NB-IOT and LTEM to better enable the affordability of much more comprehensive IoT solutions for companies of every size. Managed solutions will drive MNO growth with a much tighter focus on mutual success with their customers. These managed solutions will help afford enterprises the essential skills to execute an E2E ecosystem of connectivity, data processing, compute, and AI-based applications running across their IoT devices.   

Material change is coming but so is material opportunity for every enterprise, regardless of size or type. I am thrilled to witness such substantial changes being made to enable broad successes. The fractured landscape of technologies across distributed networking is not only being met by the MNOs making strategic shifts, but also leading technology providers like ServiceNow stepping into the networking world. Across an ever-expanding list of MNOs, ServiceNow is helping drive efficiency. Now through our collaboration, they can unify legacy IT workflow with IoT workflow for the enterprises. The opportunity for the inclusion of millions of devices and their affiliated processes to be managed with seamless workflow brings the lifecycle management enterprises need across the breadth of their distributed networking ecosystem to guide their efforts forward.  

The Mobile World Congress is an upcoming highlight, but the collaborative efforts to evolve business operations from the edge are already in full swing. The Internet and the cloud have greatly altered how everything runs. The impact of distributed networking technologies like IoT and edge computing are already doing the same yet are about to dramatically grow. Industrial IoT is on pace to be over $1 Trillion by 2030. The European Commission identified IoT as one of the technologies that is at the forefront of the digital transformation of the economy and recently tasked Capgemini with their IoT-NGIN initiative to ensure those goals are met for every business. 

Yes, change is coming. What is on the horizon is not an isolated technological decision, so the need to understand dependencies is essential. It is a collective change that requires all to have foresight to navigate their own sustained business evolutions. For those able to join us at Mobile World Congress, they will witness a considerable focus on the mutual dependencies around change and growth from the leading MNOs.  For all the enterprises or partners not able to join, know that we will be focused on jointly navigating this seismic change to ensure mutual – and sustainable – success for all.

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