IOT, 5G and the Need for Everything as a Service

by Kenneth Odera, Solutions Architect at MTN Business.

MTN Managed Services

MTN Managed ServicesWe are blessed to witness unprecedented changes in how we live, work and play in this new decade. Its amazing to see how the advent of the Internet propelled humanity to heights our forefathers would never have imagined in a period of less than 40 years. Every other electronic device now needs high speed, low latency connectivity to the Internet (5G) to tap into this whole new world of Artificial Intelligence and IOT whose “brains” are hosted somewhere on a cloud environment. As a result, any organization that is part of this revolution is looking for means of efficient use of resources. Hence, the growing need for managed services ( x- as-a-service) and autonomy. Below, we briefly examine some aspects of  IOT, 5G and the need for everything as a Service.

IOT pillar

The march towards more automation in environments such as smart factories, autonomous vehicles, smart buildings, smart cities and connected industrial applications becomes a lot easier by leveraging IoT and 5G systems. However, you need quite some resources to deal with the resulting deluge of data that needs to be analyzed and gathered. We expect to see 20 billion internet-connected things by 2020 ( Gartner 2019 report on Leading the IOT). These “things” are not general-purpose devices, such as smartphones and PCs, but dedicated-function objects, such as vending machines, jet engines, connected cars and a myriad of other examples. Also, there are so many variations in the context of IoT-enabled applications to be dealt with e.g. moving parts, remotely located parts, fluctuating needs for resources such as compute power and bandwidth etc. Current network technologies limit the delivery of these requirements. Enter 5G.

5G pillar

The first 5G networks went live for consumers in the US, UK and South Korea in 2019. It is the first generation of cellular network technology designed with IoT applications in mind. However, while 5G has now started to roll out, it’s unlikely to be ready for most IoT use cases in 2020, especially in Africa. The networks are still geographically limited, limited availability of 5G compatible devices and all the systems integration steps that come along with that.

5G promises to bring the reliability, latency, scalability, security and ubiquitous mobility that would be needed for several mission-critical services in the IoT space and beyond. Moreover, the biggest gain lies in its lower power usage. The benefits of lower power consumption – either smaller batteries or longer battery life – are huge for IoT and connected devices. Smaller devices allow for greater flexibility in how an IoT solution is deployed. Extended battery life means devices can be left in the field for longer without requiring costly maintenance. Furthermore, Cloud computing is now breaking the traditional network perimeter wall. IoT will blur the lines even further as everything becomes interconnected. How then will IT professionals cope with managing their busy networks?

Everything- as- a- service (XaaS) pillar

A decentralized system of monitoring and management must be adopted for efficient and effective monitoring and management of such networks. Gartner provide essential insights into the following market impacts and forecast assumptions ,in a research note “Forecast Analysis: Digital Business Infrastructure Operations, Worldwide”

  • Digital Business Infrastructure Operations:  35% of global infrastructure managed service providers will gain at least 50% of their revenue through managing the digital touchpoint environments of their clients by 2023.
  • Increasing Number of Digital Touchpoints: More than 50% of large enterprises will deploy at least one edge computing use case to support IoT or immersive experiences, compared to less than 5% in 2019 by year-end 2021
  • Ubiquitous Connectivity Matters:  At least 50% of digital business solutions in production will be IoT-enabled, up from 10% in 2019 by 2024.
  • Rising Cybersecurity Threats:  75% of all processing and data collection will be conducted outside the traditional data center, up from 40% today by 2022.

Organizations will need to partner with solution providers who specialize in different aspects of the network such as, Cloud computing, network monitoring and security and offer them as a service. This way, they won’t have to invest heavily in acquiring and/or training local resources across the board. Enterprise business solutions partners who provide everything as a Service – (Infrastructure, Backup, Software, Platform, Disaster Recovery, Managed Security and Network monitoring as a Service) can provide the most efficient ICT solutions to organizations. Outsourcing specific network functions to specialists allows businesses to maintain a lean IT team whose main goal is determining how to leverage ICT in order to enable business growth. They also stand to learn from extensive research and development done by such organizations.

As we evolve to a new world overrun by technology, do you have the right technology partner to guide you through? Check out what MTN Business Kenya offers here.