By: David Mastrella Publish Date: Tuesday 6/29/2021 Positive Impacts of IoT on the Telecom Industry The explosive use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology continues to transform industries across every sector. With the rise of intelligent sensors interconnecting networks generating massive pools of data, the role of telecommunications to ensure quality transmission has never been more critical. Communication service providers are realizing the greater need to provide these services as IoT revenue projections are expected to generate over $1.5 trillion by 2030. With the implementation of 5G networks, a million IoT devices per square kilometer can be enabled to benefit not only the telecom companies themselves, but industries across every sector. Telecom companies have already invested billions of dollars globally in cellular base stations, data centers, and other sophisticated technology. As a result, they are well-equipped for IoT monitoring and maintenance. Telcom companies harnessing the power of IoT can improve operational efficiency in the following ways: • Improved equipment monitoring. Remote cell towers utilize auxiliary equipment such as generators, meters, and air conditioning to ensure 24/7 uptime. IoT sensors can be used to monitor the status of these critical components and broadcast alarms when they malfunction. Telecom operators can also digitally monitor devices at other workplace locations, including workstations, warehouses, and factories. • Security to detect intrusions. Unmanned remote equipment is subject to vandalism and theft, resulting in excessive costs for the telecom company. IoT-enabled security detection systems such as remote cameras and beacons detect and alert unauthorized access events. • Damage control for natural disasters. Remote equipment sites are vulnerable to fire, weather events, floods, and earthquakes. Telecom companies can leverage IoT devices to monitor equipment and respond immediately to alerts. Staff can then remotely shut down equipment and notify authorities or dispatch technicians to assess and repair the damaged components. • Identify customer patterns. Analytics from sensor data can be used to identify and predict network usage, data usage, and other services used. This information can be used to proactively add value-added services to retain customers. IoT-driven data from wearables and accessories can also be used to help identify popular service packs in each region. Maps of customer movements and service consumption that are provided by sensor data can assist telecoms in the development and marketing of data and call service plans. New Revenue Streams Telecom companies are well-poised to reap the rewards of an IoT-connected world, with opportunities that may increase revenues (www.scnsoft.com/blog/iot-for-telecoms) past 500% over a five-year period. Several companies have already begun offering specialized plans utilizing their own network connectivity, sensors, devices, and applications. Using an open, modular approach where customers can connect devices, the following solutions can be offered. • End-to-end and backend business solutions Companies can offer software as a service (SaaS) tools as well as a back end to store, manage, and process IoT-generated data. Customers using APIs to access the back end can integrate it with their current applications. • Data analytics Telecom companies can offer advanced analytical services for their customers' IoT-driven data. • IoT data storage Storing, filtering, cleansing, and processing of customer IoT data can be accomplished by telecom companies as businesses run applications on their end. • Managed connectivity Global telecom IoT connectivity solutions enable monitoring and managing of all sensors on secure and private platforms. Additional Innovative IoT and 5G Use Cases IoT connectivity along with 5G technology presents many benefits and applications never thought possible. The following are some of the most innovative use cases for IoT when combined with 5G networks. 1. Smart cities. Through the use of connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyze data, infrastructure, utilities, and services are run with greater efficiency to provide a higher quality of life for its residents. Using smart utility meters, IoT sensors in buildings connected to a smart energy grid are used to better manage energy consumption. Sensors can also be used to monitor and manage traffic signals, parking, and public transportation to alleviate traffic pain points and help prevent vehicle-related accidents. IoT sensors collect traffic and pedestrian data to provide optimal lighting conditions. Governments can also use IoT-connected CCTV cameras for automated street surveillance to increase security. The Romanian city of Alba lulia is a showcased example of what 5G and IoT technology can accomplish. The city uses sensors for traffic congestion monitoring, parking sensors, and smart waste management. The project has reduced costs, increased efficiency, and provides a secure, sustainable future for its residents. 2. Autonomous, connected vehicles. The combination of built-in cameras and sensors with 5G enables vehicles to communicate with roadside infrastructure as well as with each other. A mobile network infrastructure is necessary to collect data from moving cars and provide real-time maps, traffic data, and road hazard warnings. The advanced bandwidth and speed of 5G will eliminate low latency, paving the way to safer and smarter self-driving vehicles. 3. Enhanced manufacturing performance. Sensors monitoring equipment on factory assembly lines can predict problems before they happen, preventing prolonged, expensive downtime. The smart factory also uses analytics to collect and process machinery performance data. Manufacturers can use machine metrics to automate workflows and optimize production. Additionally, IoT devices can be used as part of an intelligent energy efficient plan to reduce the factory's energy costs. 4. Agricultural information Using 5G sensors, fertilization, livestock, and moisture status information are used to manage the smart farm. Sensors developed by Moocall (www.moocall.com/product/moocall-sensors/), alert farm workers when pregnant cattle are close to calving. Farm machinery such as remote-controlled tractors for larger farm management are possible through 5G and sensors. For example, a tractor can be controlled from afar and use a 360-degree camera which sends 4K images back to the driver. 5. Remote healthcare administration. Monitoring patients and gathering data are critical to quality patient care. By using 5G technology with IoT sensors, patients can be remotely monitored with wearables from remote locations. IoT-connected devices can track heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and cholesterol levels. The lower latency and higher network capacity of 5G ensures the transmission of accurate, real-time patient data for medical professionals. Combining this technology with telehealth visits allows patients to visit remotely with their physicians. This is especially crucial for those who have difficulty leaving their homes. Telehealth are expected to grow 16.5% through 2023 as the rollout of 5G expands. With the implementation of 5G networks and IoT technology, artificial intelligence is another available tool that can be used to predict patient outcomes such as postoperative complications. This allows medical staff to proactively treat patients who are most susceptible to adverse outcomes. 6. Automation technology for construction. With 5G technology and IoT sensor deployment, autonomous construction machinery such as robots can be used at work sites for hazardous and repetitive tasks. Programmable drones can be used to lay GPS coordinates, monitor grades, and excavation depths for pre-construction stages. 7. Energy production efficiency. Oil and gas operations can leverage IoT technology to optimize exploration and maintenance. The exploration and production of oil and gas ranks fifth in the deployment of IoT with 35% of organizations already using the technology. An example is the use of sensor data in remote oil well locations. In sites where the ground is frozen, this data assists companies in planning equipment maintenance after the ground thaws. Additionally, using IoT optimizes exploration by deploying sensors for information on gas and oil extraction amounts from a single deposit. 8. Smart homes. Telecom companies are profiting from the growing popularity of smart homes. These fully automated intelligent systems use a network of sensors to control aspects such as air conditioning and lighting to improve energy consumption. 9. Smart retail applications. The use of sensors can more efficiently track the movement of products across the supply chain by reporting the location of goods as well as the speed and movement and ETA arrival. Warehouses can also be monitored for optimal temperature, humidity, and light conditions to ensure proper storage conditions. 10. Immersive technologies. Virtual reality and augmented reality require sensors and higher-speed networks to function efficiently. This technology can be used to train employees, assist consumers in visualizing purchases, and in education to help students learn in remote environments. Key Takeaways The combination of IoT products and services and powerful 5G technology can be harnessed to create managed communications networks that optimize and increase production across the energy, transportation, manufacturing, agricultural, and healthcare sectors. Telecom companies are a crucial player in IoT technology use as the reliance on sensors for data collection and analytics is dependent on the timely and efficient rollout of 5G networks. However, to support IoT-based networks, telecom companies must ensure their infrastructure is prepared and compatible with the integrated blockchain technology required for IoT transmission as well as big data systems. With consumer IoT connections reaching $11 billion by 2025 and $14 billion more in industrial IoT applications, telecoms can realize substantial revenue growth in this innovative sector.