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Generating new revenue streams with service-centric IoT Networks

By Shigeru Okuya,
GM Telecom Carrier Business Unit,
SDN/NFV division, NEC

Over the next ten years, the functionality of billions of connected devices will rapidly progress as the Internet of Things (IoT) market expands. To successfully monetise those opportunities, telecom operators will need to reimagine traditional networks services and infrastructure as dynamic cloud-services, and design IoT networks that are highly scalable, dynamic, and efficiently optimised to serve the different types of IoT use cases. Developing IoT-dedicated networks which are aware of service applications with end-to-end orchestration will help telecom operators launch new services faster,and create a partner ecosystem beyond the pipe that can help generate new revenue streams.


When it comes to IoT services, virtualised network load can be configured to meet the different requirements of each IoT service, and turnaround time can be determined by service type and priority. Establishing IoT-dedicated networks is a good way to ensure new IoT network models do not adversely affect existing networks for smartphones, with the three most obvious IoT-dedicated networks being:

  1. a massive number of devices such as smart metering;
  2. a high-speed, high-volume network with media optimisation such as video surveillance cameras;
  3. a low-latency network with telematics optimisation such as automatic driving applications.

The merits of IoT-dedicated networks using SDN and NFV will only increase as IoT grows.
As device numbers and the number of concurrent connections increase, IoT-dedicated networks will be able to level traffic and rapidly expand capacity. The networks are efficient to build and run, making them better suited to the low ARPU IoT service environment. Such networks can give customers exactly what they need for each IoT use case. NEC customer research shows quality of experience (QoE) is an important requirement for ultra-bandwidth networks and low latency networks (for example less than 1 millisecond), while efficient connection is more important to massive device networks.


Virtualising IoT networks will make it simpler and faster to launch new services, but it will require astute and attentive management to ensure IoT networks and services are connected efficiently and securely, and are dynamically optimised for the different requirements of low latency, guaranteed bandwidth and massive connection IoT use cases. An IoT service enabler uses context analysis to automatically control traffic from massive numbers of devices when it detects potential congestion, or guarantee bandwidth for video monitoring by prioritising upload of video traffic based on QoE and band usage. Offering such context-aware orchestration and automatic configuration enables telecom operators to attract partners into their ecosystem using elastic, service-centric networks to satisfy customer demand.


In a world where people, things and contexts are all connected and digitised, ensuring easy connectivity and service platform integration is a vital part of new value creation and business transformation using IoT. The ultimate IoT network solution should be able to orchestrate carefully designed end-to-end virtualised network slices that can guarantee reliable, best-suited networks for individual IoT uses, and can be swiftly established and configured for maximum cost and operational efficiency. End-to-end network slicing minimises any risk of interference between IoT service uses as well as existing services.

However, an IoT service enabler can add value by monitoring those network slices to ensure optimal configuration, automatically levelling traffic to avoid congestion or channelling capacity to priority areas when necessary. As IoT demand grows, using intelligent context analysis to optimise end-to-end network slices could prove the deciding differentiator for any operator seeking to generate a healthy revenue through agile service delivery with partners.

By 2020, IoT will likely permeate every facet of our society and infrastructure from smart cities, automobiles, energy management, agriculture, medical care, right down to asset and human tracking. The traditional role of telecom operators puts them in an advantageous position as a partner for public sector smart projects. They are also well positioned to use 5G slicing technologies to monetise Network-as-a-Service. As a committed driver of IoT networks with advanced IT and network technology leadership, NEC can offer telecom operators a unique set of tools, platforms and services to create IoT networks quickly and with less risk, helping them change the way they operate, extend their customer and partner base, and play a more collaborative role in shaping our digital future.

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