Telenor Connexion is making a major play in the Internet of Things data analytics market, with the launch of a platform that makes sure IoT networks do the things they are supposed to do, Antony Savvas finds out more.
An increasing number of major companies are concentrating on developing IoT platforms that allow companies to collect the big data generated by IoT sensors, and process it for the benefit of the business.
Cisco has recently bought Japanese IoT startup Kii, Truphone acquired CoSwitched, IBM has agreed separate partnerships with both ARM and Cisco, and SAP made big noises at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona about making better use of IoT big data.
But not many are majoring on the network analytics that can help improve the reliability of those IoT networks – before companies attempt to collect the data from them in the first place.
This is where Telenor Connexion comes in. The Swedish-headquarted firm has developed its
ARTS (Advanced Real-time troubleshooting ToolSet), a unique network connectivity analytics tool especially designed for widely connected IoT devices.
Mats Lundquist, CEO of Telenor Connexion, says: “As the number of IoT devices rapidly increases across networks, so does the amount of network performance threats that can be experienced by all organisations.
“Congestion, signalling storms, security issues and other threats can all raise their ugly head, and all operators face the same issues in the IoT data collection space.”
Lundquist says the company wanted to come up with a solution that would support the many different IoT devices that are continually being introduced to an expanding patchwork of data networks.
By developing ARTS for integrated IoT network control and data analysis, and not just paying attention to IoT data analysis like other companies, Telenor Connexion says it can serve customers much better. With ARTS, it can tell customers which networks have the best health, which manufactured IoT devices work to the best configurations, and what is the best software to use for particular IoT applications.
“ARTS empowers customers with a tool to ensure efficient and optimised IoT service delivery globally, as well as giving them insights from their data on untapped market potential ,” says Telenor Connexion.
The offering is delivered through Amazon Web Services and that cloud monolith can see the potential. Darren Mowry, head of Nordics, Amazon Web Services, said: “Telenor Connexion has embraced the benefits of big data in the cloud. ARTS has enabled Telenor Connexion to provide its customers with a secure, scalable solution for data-driven predictions, without the burden of customers having to run and manage their own infrastructure.”
The ARTS toolset doesn’t just turn IoT sensors on and off and provide basic management information, it collects and analyses big data and provides customers with actionable and detailed insights for troubleshooting and support, operations and business intelligence.
Lundquist says: “As a company, we have around 400 partner operators and we can tell which ones can deliver the best performance when it comes to specific IoT deployments. All this information can be shared with our customers.
“The way we have packaged ARTS means that we can provide a basic set of important services, and the customer can integrate their own functions and services into the package in response to their own specific needs,” he says.
“Our ready-made offering could save some organisations a significant amount of dollars as it can be easily set up to work on multiple projects across their operations.”
A year in the making and only released commercially in April this year, ARTS is targeted towards new and existing business customers in industries like automotive, fleet management, utilities, manufacturing, eHealth and other areas.
Verisure Securitas Direct, a leading European provider of professionally monitored alarms and connected services for the home and small business, has already tested the beta version of ARTS.
Johan Norén, project manager, connectivity, at Verisure Securitas Direct, said: “ARTS has enabled us to improve the quality of our service and to take proactive actions. Real-time insights have enabled us to predict the performance of our connected assets, allowing us to serve our customers even better and provide them with greater peace of mind.”
Telenor Connexion says ARTS is of particular value to those organisations with a global reach, after all, think of all those many thousands of sensors sending out data, and the hundreds of networks that could be deployed by global businesses to carry the data.
That data and those networks need to be monitored, managed and supported to make sure mission-critical data is efficiently transported to the right part of the organisation at the right time, avoiding bottlenecks.
The ARTS platform supports and provides reliable operations and maintenance data, as well as troubleshooting support. It also allows users to benefit from proactive support in operations, and allows them to find new business opportunities through the business analysis of the data generated.
“ARTS provides unique, real-time insights in the global mobile and traditional networks used, thereby empowering Telenor Connexion’s clients to deliver a better customer experience, improve their competitive positions and increase revenues,” says the company
How does ARTS work?
The platform provides real-time insights into the way devices and networks are working, and identifies issues in those networks and suggests solutions to any problems pinpointed. As well as this, the system identifies patterns of network behaviour and predicts potential problems.
And it also identifies optimal hardware and software combinations for the user, to help make sure that data is collected and transported as efficiently as possible.
Telenor Connexion says that as ARTS is based on real-time device behaviour and big data analytics, it can continuously analyse the IoT functions being supported and can predict an issue before it happens, enabling actions to be proactively taken and quality of service to be improved.
What comes with ARTS?
The system comes with a customer web interface and key performance indicator (KPI) reports. Analysis can be provided by Telenor Connexion experts – which is a unique selling point of the offering.
The ARTS toolset is interfaced with Amazonbased cloud analytics. It provides operator level insights with instant alerts of when and what issues have occurred. This data is accompanied with actionable information and suggestions that can be used to overcome any network problems.
If the customer cannot solve any problems themselves, when armed with the automatic information delivered, they can can contact a Telenor Connexion helpdesk which will help see them through the issue.
Key performance indicator reports provide detailed insights on device performance, the best performing combinations of hardware, software and networks, as well as how to scale up your IoT operations as quickly as possible.
ARTS also provides business intelligence and insights on the untapped potential of new and emerging markets, through using the data you have collected. The analytics tool can identify unattached devices that exist in new geographies, network quality, as well as the effectiveness of roaming profiles, for instance. It can also make sure that sensors do not go to waste.
For example, a growing number of trucks and other vehicles are being fitted with IoT devices. Trucks can be replaced with newer models and sold on but those still equipped with the sensors can generate valuable data for the new owners.
Telenor Connexion can use ARTS to help rediscover IoT-enabled vehicles and work with dealerships and the new owners to start taking advantage of the data generated again. DATA ANALYTICS Telenor Connexion can use ARTS to help rediscover IoT-enabled vehicles and work with dealerships and the new owners to start taking advantage of the data generated again.
The security of data generated by IoT devices is a recurring issue in the market and Telenor Connexion says it is committed to driving the industry standards that can make IoT data as safe as possible.
Jimmy Johansson was recently appointed information security and privacy officer at Telenor Connexion to help drive the security agenda for both the company and the industry as a whole.
Johansson is responsible for the development, delivery and management of the Telenor information security programme. This incorporates policies, procedures and controls to effectively manage security risk and compliance with laws covering privacy regulations and best practises.
Johansson says: “From a security standpoint, there are a lot of interesting challenges as the Internet of Things is now starting to mature. Connected units are no longer isolated from public access, while it needs to be easy for endusers to safely connect further sensors or units to their current solutions.
“To continue providing secure solutions, Telenor Connexion must adapt to the new challenges that our customers are facing when launching IoT enabled services and products.”
Johansson was previously a technical architect at the company and was heavily involved in the development of the GSMA’s IoT Security Guidelines, a framework for the secure design, development and deployment of IoT services.
The GSMA IoT Security Guidelines provide IoT service providers and the wider IoT ecosystem practical advice on tackling common cybersecurity threats, as well as data privacy issues associated with IoT services.
“As billions of devices become connected to the Internet of Things, offering innovative and interconnected new services, the possibility of potential vulnerabilities increases,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer of the GSMA.
“These can be overcome if the end-to-end security of an IoT service is carefully considered by the service provider when designing their service, and an appropriate mitigating technology is deployed. A proven and robust approach to security will create trusted, reliable services that scale as the market grows.”
The GSMA’s IoT Security Guidelines establish the need for risk assessment of all components of an IoT service to ensure they are designed to securely collect, store and exchange data, and successfully mitigate cybersecurity attacks. The Guidelines recently came through a “thorough industry consultation” involving academics, analysts and other industry experts to ensure that “they are as robust as possible”, said the GSMA.
Johansson says: “These guidelines will help both start-ups and established companies to implement security and privacy into their processes in order to provide secure services and products.”
Telenor Connexion is also involved in other GSMA standards groups, and other standards bodies too.
The price of ARTS
As for the cost model of ARTS, Telenor Connexion sees the solution as an essential part of its effort to build up its whole IoT ecosystem, but not necessarily a large part of its overall sales.
CEO Lundquist says: “CEO Lundquist says: “The price model is not intense, we view ARTS foremost as a way of enhancing our service proposition and adding value to our customers. This tool enables customers to take actions proactively and their quality of service to be improved.”
He says: “Of course though, innovative products like ARTS also help to promote our other products, including our leading IoT and Cloud Connect solutions. We make money from having more devices being deployed across IoT networks, not from analyzing more data, as useful as that data is.”