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Telcos take on IoT Southeast Asia; tips for solution providers

These days, we see communication service providers (CSPs) getting increasingly actively involved in the IoT space. Being at the core of IoT value chain, telecommunications and IT service providers can bring together the large ecosystem of partners and speed up the time to market for IoT.

We interviewed some of our partners in Southeast Asia and summed up the main initiatives and efforts of telcos in the IoT sector.

What are the current focuses of CSPs in Southeast Asia?

According to JD Montelibano, the Head of Business Applications from the Globe Telecom IT Enabled Services Group, CSPs are in a good position to provide end-to-end and seamless IoT solutions for the Philippine market.

“We have been driving awareness on benefits of IoT primarily to businesses. Focus today is to drill into deeper and more specific use cases per industry that will solve specific pain points and problems,” said JD.

Meanwhile in Thailand, there are initiatives such as the collaboration between CAT Telecom, NIA, and TESA to promote IoT and smart city development by supporting tech companies and startups that have IoT/smart city innovation.

Yuttasart Nitipaichit, PhD, Assistant Vice President of CAT Telecom Data Center Department pointed out that CAT aims to provide IoT and smart city solutions as one of their main businesses.

“CAT’s main focus is to provide support on Telecom and IT infrastructure that would be the building block for developing smart city applications. We aim to provide support on mobile and Internet connectivity, IT infrastructure including Cloud platform and data center, and IT security solutions,” he added.

With a mobile penetration rate of 120% in Indonesia, Mirela Juravle, the head of M2M Projects in Indosat Ooredoo, believes that CSPs are trusted partners to help IoT adoption. Being in the driver seat, they want to lead the IoT development through an extensive portfolio of solutions and services ranging from connectivity, infrastructure, cloud services, data analytics to end-to-end IoT solutions and services; promoting innovation simple and open environments for local developers to build innovative IoT services; and Big Data.

One of Indosat success stories in 2015 is the launch of vehicle telematics solution which had greatly increased productivity for operational car fleets and logistic companies.

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

On the contrary, Malaysian CSPs have falled behind in taking the leap with IoT. Telcos in Malaysia have been criticized for being too conservative; and they are making big plans to grow their presence in the IoT sector and catalyze Malaysia's Smart Digital Nation vision.

Digi has identified some key industry players that are at more matured stage such as the public services and logistic area leveraging on IoT adoption to drive customer experience and enhance business growth.
Lee Shin Mei, the Head of Enterprise Business in Digi, shared with us that Digi is exploring and always open for IoT as this is one of their main drivers moving forward.

“The current focus is really about creating the customer awareness, looking out for opportunities to collaborate and getting the right partners in place to support the initiative. Once we build the business value and can show to our customers the benefits of IoT, this would eventually build a sensible commercial value for all parties. In terms of segment or industry, there is really no hard rule about this part,” she added.

What are the advice for solution providers targeting Southeast Asia?

What do you have to identify and prepare beforehand? How to access the market and justify the right local contacts?

Southeast Asia countries are generally quite similar in the focus area and highlighted verticals for IoT, but slight different approach or key points have to be taken care of for each country.

Let’s have a look at the views of local CSPs from specific countries in the region.

JD Montelibano, Globe, Philippines:

IoT has huge opportunities and unlimited use case that are relevant to the Philippine market. What solution providers must do is to understand pain points and problems in a local micro level. They also need to have platforms that are inter-operable with other systems to drive seamless integration through readily available APIs.

Yuttasart Nitipaichit, CAT, Thailand:

Solution providers should study and truly understand problems of cities in Thailand in order to provide real solutions that could really solve the problems. In addition, they should consider partnering with infrastructure providers and end user device manufacturers as well to provide complete solutions. They should make sure that the value of their proposed solutions is higher and worth the proposed cost of investment.

Mirela Juravle, Indosat Ooredoo, Indonesia:

Indonesia market offers huge opportunities, and this is the top 3 advice I can give for solutions providers to be successful:

  1. Know the market, know the regulations
  2. Partner with a local company or establish local office
  3. Be flexible

Lee Shin Mei, Digi, Malaysia

Have creative ideas or products but also remember to be practical so as the end goal is to simplify and enhance customer experiences. Solution providers can also leverage on partnerships with telcos to create a more viable solution that offers end-to-end approach.

Receiving international IoT stakeholders with open arms

Over the comments and feedback I have received for my previous posts, there is one question that popped up frequently: Is partnership essential?

Southeast Asia is a dynamic market, with vibrant culture and varying work approach. Much work has to be done to be familiar with the ways businesses work in each country.

While telecommunication operators and governments are positively encouraging IoT solution providers from both local and abroad to help tackle local problems via technology, I believe having a contact point who has been around and understands the local market would be the most direct, fastest and safest way to access the pool of demand.

What do you think?

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.

If you are  looking to connect to the local telcos in Southeast Asia, feel free to get in touch. Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Sue Yuin
sueyuin@industry-platform.com


By Sue Yuin Ho | May 1st, 2017

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