Airtel Considers India A Good Place To Build IoT Ecosystem

As India continues to explore the capabilities of new-age technologies, leading telecom company Bharti Airtel believes that this a good time for India to build the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.

The company is reportedly adopting applications and partner-based approach to grow its IoT business in India. It is also continuously investing towards developing the narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) ecosystem in the country.

According to reports, Airtel said that it is focusing on enabling connectivity, building applications and providing a platform for developers to build the new use cases. Sundi Raman, head (digital products & IoT), Airtel Business reportedly said that the company will always go with what the GSMA and 3 GPP bodies are talking about, and NBIoT is one of those technologies that will help. “We definitely will be investing there, we are also looking into what the customers need in terms of specific use cases,” Raman added.

It is to be noted that Airtel has been building its IoT ecosystem through a separate vertical and has clocked up $1.7 Bn in revenues for the fiscal year 2018-19. To further develop the technology and grow, Airtel is now focused on bringing more partners on board to develop applications using the IoT platform.

Raman said IoT is a huge ecosystem play and a single vendor can’t deliver the solution. “…you have devices, network provider, platform play and application space. On top of that, you need to customise those applications for end customers. We want to partner with [application] providers, who can help us to fill the gaps.”

In simple terms, NarrowBand-IoT is a technology built on low power wide area (LPWA) network. LPWA is a network, designed to support affordable and remote internet of things (IoT) applications which have slow data transmission speeds, and requires long battery life. Some examples of IoT applications are agricultural drones, smart speakers, and home security systems.

The industry expects India’s NB-IoT market to grow to INR 5,000 Cr in three years. NB-IoT is expected to improve the power consumption of user devices, system capacity and spectrum efficiency, especially in deep coverage.

By 2022, Strategy Analytics, a predictive analysis firm estimated that network operators (Jio, Airtel, etc) could be generating more than $13 Bn from LPWA connectivity, as well as significant additional revenues from value-added services, such as data analytics and security.


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