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A Truly Connected World: The Need for Global Device Connectivity and Control

Access to a cloud-based mobile network platform allows enterprises to optimize international connectivity with their customers, employees or assets—wherever they are.
By Tim Sherwood
Oct 15, 2017

Every journey has a beginning, but the destination is not always clear from the outset. So far, the beginning of the CIO's journey in enterprise mobility has been mostly about the lock-down and control of access and information. As the journey continues, emphasis is shifting toward unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things and the mobile-enabled workforce. This is particularly relevant at a time when enterprises need to find efficient ways to connect with multiple end-points, including customers, partners, employees and assets distributed around the world.

Forrester Research indicates that up to 45 percent of some enterprise workforces can now be categorized as "anytime, anywhere." Gartner reveals that up to 70 percent of mobile professionals expect to be conducting all of their work on smart mobile devices by 2018. Extending slightly further ahead to 2021, based on forecasts released by Ericsson, we can expect 6.3 billion smartphones to be in use globally, along with 28 billion connected devices, mainly falling into the IoT category.

For enterprises considering how to mobilize their workforce, as well as deploy the IoT efficiently, a broader mobile platform approach presents obvious advantages. In order for a company to achieve a global digital transformation, a move to cloud-based, mobile-first strategies is key. The mobile digital platform economy model should be considered as being similar to the shared economy models associated with organizations such as Amazon, Uber or AirBnB—organizations that have applied digital transformation very successfully at an industry level.

The challenge is that a global platform approach currently is restricted, not so much by technical limitations such as spectrum availability, but by the commercial models that have been used for the past two decades to manage and provide mobile services. One significant challenge facing IoT deployments is how to achieve multiple-country connectivity. This is a problem for developers at multinational enterprises that want to be able to deploy their solutions or services across multiple geographies. Mobile network operators are defined by the limits of their own networks, so in cases for which international IoT requirements exist, this requires partnership with other connectivity providers and the need to find new models for inter-operator settlement.

As indicated by Ovum , negotiating agreements with network access providers in every target country is a long, complex and expensive business. In this case, an international connectivity platform provider takes on this aggregation activity on behalf of the developer or enterprise. This international, mobile platform approach unlocks the potential of large-scale, cross-border IoT deployments. This type of platform is of particular value when it comes to so-called permanent-roaming IoT scenarios—for example, involving automotive, transportation, logistics, telematics, fleet management, consumer devices, etc. By aggregating access to multiple networks, we are able to remove the complexity and high cost of connectivity that makes international IoT deployment a challenge.

With the dual challenges of IoT deployment and a rapidly mobilizing workforce, the CIO's mobile transformation journey needs to focus on the mobile platform approach, whereby multiple corporate applications can be accessed and utilized in real time, by machines or by humans, regardless of location or network. This approach not only liberates enterprise employees from the restrictions of a physical workplace and the need to work within the constraints of a fixed environment, it also liberates the enterprise itself in terms of asset deployment and control.

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