Southeast Asia is calling for smart city solutions; governments are investing largely in developing IoT and smart nation roadmaps, public sectors are having massive discussions on IoT strategies implementation, even vendors from abroad are actively diving into local markets to make it work for smart city projects.

However, the fundamental enablers of a smart city are not any of the application domains; they are the network and the platforms – and this brings telcos into the picture as they look for alternative sources of revenues.

Telcos already have the networks and some of the platforms needed, and they know how to develop and extend both of these assets and turn them into services. They can deliver essential smart-city platforms of sensor and actuator networks, data collection, mediation and analysis and delivery, device management, business intelligence, rating and charging to any or all of the application domains.

Essentially, telcos plays the main role of delivering smart-city infrastructure as a service, with great opportunity for platform plays in smart cities.

In our recent interview with Mirela Juravle who heads the M2M Projects in Indosat, one of the largest telco in Indonesia, Indosat Ooredoo’s ambition is to become leading digital telco of Indonesia. IoT strategy fits perfectly in this ambition and is based on 3 key play areas:

- Working with best in class partners
- Deliver Smart Business, Smart City, Smart Society solutions
- Simple and easy customer experience

“We have done a lot of market educations in the last 2 years and we will continue in this year to accelerate growth in banking, transportation and security but also to develop new markets in eHealth, user based insurance, business applications, industrial IoT, oil gas, Smart Cities.”

Mikael Lindholm from Telenor, Global M2M provider that owns DTAC and Digi in Asia, commented that telcos have an important role to play as they are trusted brands with extensive experience.

“We know how to scale, which is very important for industrial M2M applications.”

It is important though, to note that telcos cannot do it all themselves - they need help from partners especially solution providers that are expert in specific development for areas such as transport management, banking security, manufacturing (more know as Industrial IoT nowadays), healthcare monitoring, etc.

From our conversations with telcos in Asia IoT Business Platform series, we found that local telcos especially are very open to collaborating with interesting solution vendors and IT companies in bringing more advanced applications for the benefit of Smart City visions.

Asia IoT Business Platform partners with major telcos in Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to educate enterprise on IoT adoption and raise awareness of the key business model transformation opportunities that can be tapped on.

Our telco partners include Smart, Globe, AIS, dtac, CAT, True, Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata, Telkom Malaysia, Digi, Maxis, Celcom, etc. 

Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in knowing more about the plans telcos have in place for smart city development in the region.

By Sue Yuin, Ho

sueyuin@industry-platform.com