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IWCE Conference Opened My Eyes to the Vast Landscape of Mobility Opportunity

Posted by Angela Costa on May 2, 2018 12:00:00 PM

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I thought I understood mobility. I was wrong. The opportunity is so much bigger than I thought.

Upon entering the International Wireless Communications Expo (ICWE)’s showroom, I was greeted by a sea of vendors and resellers who specialize in “mission critical” communications. This scene was not what I had envisioned. To say I was in for an eye-opening experience is an understatement.

So, what options exist beyond WiFi?

For starters, there’s more to satellites than Dish TV and military communications for Department of Defense (DoD) – there’s also Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) to consider.

MSS goes where others cannot. In terms of wireless broadband, Long Term Evolution (LTE) is great but has infrastructure limitations. MSS has a more established network that isn’t bound by terrestrial restraints. MSS offers solutions for industries like hospitality, transportation and the public sector. By considering MSS and LTE in your solutions, you can serve a wider breadth of customers. Both are accessible through a SIM card and are generally consumption-based, with or without a contract. 

Radio mixed with other technologies is still pretty cool.

Radio is big business. Everything we use is a variation of radio. I could write a dissertation on all things radio. A lot of what I saw integrated radio with other technologies. One of the coolest applications by far is the dispatching systems used in emergency services. Dispatch uses an overlay program that lets it know where emergency responders are located based on the GPS signal from an emergency responser's Digital Mobile Radios (DMRs). As emergency calls come in, dispatchers can easily route the call to the closest responder improving response times.

However, this system is not limited to just emergency services though. I see this as an easy sell in hospitality, retail, stadiums and theme parks where managing a large headcount at one time is part of the industry. The ability to manage resources efficiently allows these industries to create better guest experiences and budget payroll by reducing unnecessary overtime. DMRs can transfer data as well, which means better reporting and actionable information for management. Here’s an example of how hospitality is already using DMRs.

Almost every exhibitor was talking about Long Term Evolution.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) was everywhere. From on-demand LTE networks to failover solutions for DMRs, LTE popped up in almost every booth. As early adapters to the subscription-based model, the IWCE community has mobility-as-a-service and selling packaged solutions down pat. This model is key to creating a successful mobility practice. Sell the outcome, not the products.

Many providers in attendance recognize that the LTE mobile opportunity is a global one. Domestic service is pretty saturated and it can be challenging to be a differentiator among the competition. One of the biggest opportunities I see for mobile solution providers is the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) space and innovative LTE roaming options. Because MVNOs purchase cellular minutes and data in bulk from legacy providers who own their own infrastructures, MVNOs can offer consumption-based plans as an advantage. This is really big for IoT and failover as it provides better insight into application usage and removes the investment of an on-premise failover system. Consumption-based plans help businesses shift from a CapEx model to an OpEx model. You only pay for what you use. This type of plan changes a conversation to consideration quickly.

MVNOs thrive in the roaming space as well. When speaking to a long-standing provider of MSS, he mentioned the cost of services being a concern among some of his customers. He tried to partner his MSS solution with one of the Big Four Telecoms (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint) in hopes of cutting costs, but the roaming charges were more than the MSS Service. He was at a loss. When I mentioned Tech Data offered a consumption-based plan with international service, his eyes lit up. He had never realized there were alternatives. This option was a game changer for him as he primarily serves cruise and yacht industries that are seasonal and therefore ideal for consumption-based plans that accommodate roaming. 

Roaming solutions aren’t just for adventurers at sea, here is another example of innovative LTE roaming – by air!

What I’ve mentioned here is only a snapshot of the total opportunity for mobility solution. Knowing all your options is crucial in driving more business outcomes and closing more deals. Tech Data's team of vertical experts is ready to help you navigate the mobile ecosystem and build vertical-specific solutions. Reach out to us at mobilitysolutions@techdata.com for more information or when you’re ready to take the next steps to grow your mobile practice.

Tags: Mobility, Client & Mobility, MSS, LTE

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