MWC17: Tata MOVEs into the increasingly crowded IoT connectivity game

Tata IoT connectivity
Mehul Kapadia, VP of global marketing at Tata Communications

Tata Communications is getting into the IoT connectivity platform game with the launch of its global “Move” IoT platform, as well as a national LoRa IoT network in India in partnership with HPE.

The first phase of the Move platform rollout – unveiled last Thursday just ahead of MWC17 in Barcelona –will focus on global cellular IoT and SIM connectivity, with more enterprise and cellco capabilities to follow later in 2017. Tata said that Move is part of a long-term strategy for its mobility services portfolio to create “an access and usage agnostic, cross-border mobile experience for people and things.”

Tata also says that Move paves the way for new industrial IoT applications to generate operational efficiencies in sectors such as manufacturing and logistics.

Tata is coming a tad late into a nascent but booming $4 billion market for cross-border IoT connectivity platform services, where companies like Cisco Jasper and Sigfox are well established. Nokia recently jumped into the game with its WING (worldwide IoT network grid) service, which offers managed global IoT connectivity for transport, health, utilities and safety markets.

However, Mehul Kapadia – VP of global marketing at Tata Communications – told Disruptive.Asia at MWC17 that there’s plenty of room in the market for multiple players, and that most IoT platforms tend to have a targeted focus rather than trying to be all things to all potential enterprise customers. “It’s not a problem that just one company can solve.”

He added that Tata’s value proposition lies in its global connectivity footprint and its partnership strategy. “We have relationships with over 900 mobile operators. We also have key relationships for our Wi-Fi footprint – we can provide access to 45 million hotspots worldwide. And we also have established a lot of partnerships and collaborations with key players like Microsoft, Amazon. And then there’s also our recent investment in Teleena.”

Teleena is an IoT connectivity specialist and mobile virtual network enabler, whose technology manages the operational complexity and reduces the cost of IoT deployments for businesses. Tata recently acquired a 35% stake in Teleena, making it the single largest shareholder.

If nothing else, the main thing Tata has going for it is sheer scale, said Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader for Europe at Ovum.“The market needs large-scale operators such as Tata Communications that are able to scale up activity in a market so far populated by small commercial aggregators and mobile virtual network operators.”

Meanwhile, Tata and HPE announced at MWC17 Monday their plans to roll out India’s first LoRaWAN that Tata has had in the works since last year.

The first phase of the roll-out targets Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities in India. Alongside field trials in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, there are also 35 proof-of-concept applications in trial on the network.

The project involves connecting devices, applications and other IoT solutions over the LoRa network in smart buildings, campus, utilities, fleet management, security and healthcare services in nearly 2,000 communities.

HPE’s contribution to the project is its Universal IoT Platform, which uses the oneM2M multivendor interoperability standard to manage a variety of devices and technologies. The platform supports long-range, low-power connectivity deployments, as well as devices that use cellular, radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The HPE Universal IoT Platform was recently enhanced to include increased LoRa gateway support, enabling the use of multiple LoRa gateways with a common set of applications to simplify device provisioning and control in heterogeneous LoRa environments.

“The sheer size of this project is incredible, bringing new services to millions of people,” said David Sliter, vice president and general manager of HPE’s Communications Solutions Business in a statement. “Through our partner centric approach, the HPE Universal IoT platform will enable Tata Communications to build multiple vertical use cases for its Indian IoT network on a common platform with a common data model.”

 HPE is demonstrating various smart city IoT use cases on its IoT Platform at MWC17.

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