IoT Use Cases for Strong Revenue Opportunities in MENA
In the last several years, communications service providers (CSPs) started adopting and developing the Internet of Things (IoT) to generate alternative revenue streams. This is not surprising, as IoT already has an impact on everyday life and work, and we will see more exciting emerging trends as the IoT market will grow further. In 2023, there are 19.8 billion installed and connected devices across the world, and by 2025, they are expected to increase to 30.9 billion. MENA will also likely benefit from a productivity effect from IoT-based products and services. For all ecosystem players in MENA, IoT revenue will increase by approximately 19% per year to reach $55 billion in 2025. According to the GSMA, the economic benefit will rise to $18 billion in 2025, equivalent to a GDP contribution of 0.3% to the regional economy.
Building IoT ecosystems is closely related to developing applications designed to collect, transfer, and process data from connected devices. There are opportunities to create a wide range of IoT solutions based on mobile connectivity management. Connectivity management platforms serve as a foundation to build the CSP’s business in the IoT market, as they provide clients with the next level of visibility through IoT-enabled devices and access to IoT data. For instance, Nexign IoT Connectivity Platform helps CSPs automate core business processes in the IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) market. It provides end-to-end IoT client lifecycle management and enables CSPs to create a digital ecosystem, generate new revenue streams, and reduce operating expenditure (OPEX) for customer support and BSS maintenance.
Along with 5G, IoT is crucial for industrial digitalization. 5G and IoT let CSPs offer customized network slices to meet the client’s needs. For instance, they determine the speed of data transfer, the amount of data that could be sent between devices, and network coverage. The industrial IoT market is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2028, as companies across the world require greater efficiency and control in industrial operations. In MENA, industrial IoT is the fastest growing IoT segment. It is anticipated to reach 57% of total IoT connections in the region by 2025 due to an increase in smart utilities, smart retail, and smart city deployments.
IoT Use Cases: Oil and Gas
One of the major industries that could benefit from IoT is oil and gas. Large industrial enterprises widely apply it to optimize their technological and business operations. For example, IoT has been used for smart metering to monitor real-time gas transfer and consumption levels. It helps control distributed and consumed gas parameters, including volume, temperature, and pressure, online. Besides, IoT helps receive information about the location of a gas meter, as well as establish limits for data and voice traffic. It also accounts for the API integration of SIM control inside enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Additionally, IoT-based smart helmets have been developed to monitor workspace safety. A helmet contains several electronic modules with special sensors, such as a positioning device, GPS GLONASS-GSM module, gyroscope, and accelerometer. It detects if workers enter a restricted or hazardous area and alerts them, thus preventing an accident and eliminating a risk of injury.
One more case illustrating how IoT is used in the oil and gas industry is a smart gas station. It answers for real-time monitoring of gas stations, manual intervention reduction, and inventory management. IoT-based smart gas station supports the payment for fuel through smartphones, improves the quality of monitoring and control at the filling station. IoT also provides sensors, modules for Internet access, and M2M interaction through data exchange protocols for fuel-filling columns. Smart gas stations allow the monitoring of fuel tanks, engineering systems, and gas station buildings. They utilize predictive on demand analytics to optimize operations, increase employee productivity, and the ability to develop and introduce new services for consumers.
IoT also significantly improves personal mobility by advancing transportation and delivery services. For example, companies offering app-based short-time rental of electric scooters use IoT to have complete control over their scooter fleet dispersed throughout the country and across cities. IoT helps them secure traffic communicated from the scooters to the receiving servers and detect usage anomalies. Additionally, the technology allows the e-scooter industry to comply with rapidly changing governmental regulations, including speed limits, restricted areas, vehicle caps, and parking zones.
Furthermore, IoT technologies provide real-time monitoring of food and box delivery and enhance the quality of service. Couriers use electric scooters, and customers can see them on the map, track the delivery process, and leave feedback for delivery improvement.
It is worth noting that IoT is also used to monitor CO2 and other emissions. Environmental pollution has been a significant issue for years, and it is necessary to automate data collection for internal control and information transfer to government agencies for centralized management of industrial waste. IoT helps resolve the problem by real-time monitoring of air and water quality parameters, including suspended solids (mass concentration of dust PM 2.5, PM10), nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon oxide, ozone, temperature, humidity, and pressure. IoT also allows the comparison of received data with the accepted standard and reports admissibility or non-compliance using SMS, push, email, or other notifications. IoT devices can be integrated into federal information systems, thus allowing for urgent measures at the governmental level. The technology is independent of third-party measurement laboratories to reduce the risks of data contradiction and fraud.
New Business Opportunities for CSPs
IoT is not unique to the telecom market, but CSPs can integrate it into their services to significantly expand the scope of services offered to clients and, consequently, increase the income level. Besides, IoT helps CSPs go beyond traditional telecom services and collaborate with other spheres. For instance, one of the promising areas for IoT application is the housing and communal services segment. Here, CSPs can collaborate with a contractor and sensor manufacturer to provide smart sensors for homes during construction. Besides, IoT can be used to develop smart meters for water, gas, electricity, and heat in smart homes. It automates accounting systems, improves energy efficiency, and reduces costs.
Trends in IoT Development
Several trends are anticipated during the further IoT development. First, security and surveillance will be at the forefront of the IoT market. Today, data privacy is one of the primary concerns in using IoT, and it is necessary to research the latest innovations to resolve the problem and use them promptly. Second, the industrial IoT market will grow, as more and more businesses will utilize IoT to automate manufacturing. Additionally, 5G and immersive technologies will boost market opportunities and open new possibilities for revenue growth. Furthermore, the rise of social consciousness and the focus on sustainability will make environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing a priority in the CEO agenda.
Speaking of trends in IoT, it is also worth noting new approaches to building infrastructure. The growing number of connected devices drives new requirements that traditional public cellular networks can’t address. Verticals, such as utilities and agriculture, are exploring private cellular networks. These solutions will enable secure, on-premises deployments where public mobile networks are unavailable or not desired. Enterprises are looking for wireless networks that provide reliable coverage with the possibility of seamless roaming from public to private networks.
IoT adoption in MENA is expected to increase as the government strives to resolve the problem of resource scarcity and improve the well-being of citizens. The enterprises’ drive to boost efficiencies and decrease costs is also helping to encourage IoT connections. CSPs understand the increasing demand for IoT and the opportunities lying behind. Previously, CSPs focused primarily on suggesting basic data plans for IoT device connectivity and narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) over cellular networks, but today, they add more value to their offering and position themselves as key players in the IoT value chain. IoT will bring CSPs innovation, comprehensive solutions, and new income sources, opening endless growth opportunities in our interconnected world.