Telit has IoT in its DNA so it can support organisations in their digital transformations
Yosi Fait is the interim chief executive of Telit, having previously served as the president and chief financial officer of Telit. He began his career as an accountant with Ernst & Young Israel before serving as chief financial officer of Pelephone, the first cellular operator in Israel. In addition, he has CEO experience at Alony Group and H&O. Here, he tells IoT Now about Telit’s development plans as the IoT market matures and growth in device deployment volumes accelerates.
IoT Now: You’ve recently taken over the leadership of Telit following the departure of former-CEO Oozi Cats. Does this signal a new direction for the company?
Yosi Fait: At this stage I’m interim chief executive and a decision about the position will be announced later in September 2017. From a strategic point-of-view, the company is welldirected so we’re not going to be making changes. Our way to create best of breed solutions won’t change and we’re well-positioned in the extremely exciting IoT market.
In terms of details, I believe we may become more focused on growth. The growth of the IoT market is set to be enormous and it will therefore be important for us to continue to demonstrate our leadership on cost as device volumes ramp up, and the innovation required to engable the IoT for our customers.
IoT Now: Please give some more detail on the main areas Telit will focus on and the direction it will take under your leadership?
YF: In the last two years Telit has acquired two business in the short range radio area, GainSpan and Stollmann, because we believe the sensor-tocloud business will be a material business. We’ll continue to bring the best cloud solutions to market with embedded security and that are easy to deploy. These attributes are fundamental to the success of the sensor-to-cloud market which is poised to see enormous volumes of sensors being connected in the coming years.
Cellular connectivity will, of course, be a key part of any deployment so we’ll continue to invest in that alongside our short range offerings. This effort includes initiatives such as our SIMwise virtual SIM offerings that will run on Telit modules. We’ll build on that and our incredibly good partnership with OT-Morpho to enable Cat-M devices to spread globally.
IoT Now: What are you seeing driving the market? What’s your outlook for the market?
YF: The IoT market includes major technologies and security that enable solutions in smart energy, telematics and manufacturing. Solutions in these verticals have been with us for 25 years and they will continue to drive parts of the market.
Our belief is that a great driver for growth will be enterprise and small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) that are making significant investments to digitally transform their businesses, create new revenue streams, servitize by moving from selling products to becoming service providers.
More and more companies are now exploring how IoT can be utilised to help them grow. Within Telit, we help companies that know nothing about IoT but have a great business idea, challenging use case, or new business model. We collaborate, design, and show how Telit can deliver the business outcomes they are expecting from the IoT. We provide a turnkey solution in many cases that redefines our customers’ businesses.
In order to enable that, we’ve invested for many years to build our capabilities so we can support a Fortune 100 company or a US$200m organisation.
IoT Now: What is Telit’s approach to helping customers understand the new opportunities that are open to them?
YF: The convergence created by mashups of hardware and software solutions is becoming important in the decision making process as companies look to their business transformations. You see many customers that are looking to Telit to provide modules, connectivity, and platforms to help them accelerate their digital journey.
We bring genius-level knowledge that is truly unmatched in the industry. IoT is in our DNA. Over the last years, many assumed the easy part was at the edge. However, this is perhaps the most complex part of the digital journey for many, and Telit are the global leaders here.
Our experience, and depth of knowledge becomes a powerful tool for our customers when challenged by complex use cases. There is likely not a business challenge we have not experienced, and this genius level expertise of our team helps our customers accelerate projects, and ultimately get to the business outcomes.
IoT Now: Looking ahead what is your strategy for 2018? What investments do you plan to make?
YF: If we start with the products side of the business, we’ll continue to make investments in the 4G area. These will be in the lower categories, such as narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), and where our personalisation systems are able to embed each module with virtual SIM. We’ll also address the high end categories, such as Cat 12, with continued investment.
Aside from 4G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also areas in which we will continue to invest. These will be very important because, in the future, multiple technologies will be used to go to the cloud and the ability to connect them in the most appropriate way is important.
We’ll also strengthen our ability to provide customers with very strong professional services. This ties in with what I was mentioning earlier about our deep understanding and knowledge of this market place. We need to improve how we make this accessible to help customers take their ideas from concept to reality.
For this reason we’ll invest heavily in professional services. This is where some customers need us to help on their digital journey. Of course, the traditional players from the 1990s don’t need our professional services. They’ve done this type of work themselves for years and know what to do so we’ll continue to serve these companies as usual. It’s the new and emerging market that needs our professional services.
IoT Now: What do you see as the highlights in Telit’s roadmap?
YF: 4G both in high and low categories will have lots of exciting developments which will be accompanies by significant advances in our short range capabilities. The combination of these into a situation where multiple technologies would be very easy to evolve into the cloud so the data can be analysed and pushed back to the device cost effectively is the goal.
That’s not a change for us, we’re not changing our strategy of the last few years. The journey isn’t over but Telit now has a unique set of capabilities where we are able to build comprehensive, combined solutions that utilise multiple technologies from our in-house portfolio.
IoT Now: Partnering is at the heart of IoT success. What’s Telit’s approach to partnering and what types of organisation are ideal partners?
YF: It’s not an exaggeration to say that partnering is the oxygen of IoT. If you want to work with Fortune 100 companies you need to form partnerships in order to serve them with the best offerings.
In enterprise IT we have partnerships with companies like SAP which provides us with access into large enterprises. In systems integration we partner with large providers such as Tech Mahindra and Freudenberg IT. These types of company are running big customer projects and use our tools.
Another type of player we partner with are mobile network operators. We have very strong relationships with several of these around the world including very innovative companies such as Tele2, Telefónica, AT&T and Verizon to name just a few. We’re continuing to build on these relationships which we see as very important for the development of our business.
We’re also partnering with chipset providers and massive cloud services providers. Companies like these see Telit as a way to connect edge devices to the cloud and this is an ecosystem that we’re looking to address for SMBs either directly or in big partnerships with global systems integrators.
IoT Now: Please can you provide an example of how Telit partners?
YF: We’re working with Yokogawa, which is a global leader in the industrial automation and control, test and measurement, aviation, and other business segments, on a brand new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) architecture created with the goal of propelling Yokogawa’s business model into a connected future. By combining our technological portfolio of communication modules, sensor onboarding and device management capabilities with Yokogawa’s more than 100 years of experience in providing devices, analytical instruments, and other industrial solutions, Yokogawa will be able to create new value for its customers.
We’re contributing three critical components to the Yokogawa IIoT Architecture: a broad portfolio of wireless IoT communication modules whose common form factors necessitate only one hardware design per global deployment, a diverse collection of industrial drivers and edge analytics which enable a robust sensor onboarding capability, and powerful connectivity and device management capabilities.
Through our collaboration, Yokogawa will be able to provide an endto-end sensor-to-cloud solution composed of sensing, control and cloud-based processing. Our cloud platform will act as an industrialclass device on-ramp to Yokogawa’s managed cloud architecture, ensuring bi-directional device compatibility and control with a host of industrial sensors.
IoT Now: Many of your partnerships are horizontal, enabling use cases regardless of the sector or industry. Do you envisage Telit partnering to address specific the requirements of specific vertical markets?
YF: What we are building is a horizontal business but that’s not to say we won’t consider becoming vertically integrated if we see good opportunities. However, it is mandatory for us not to compete with out customers. We would only consider vertical solutions if we see that they have no potential to damage vertical relationships with our customers.
IoT Now: What do you see as the greatest challenge the IoT industry faces?
YF: Scalability. As deployments scale up they become much more complex and costly to manage. When you have 100 units to manage it’s not important but when you have 100,000 that ability to manage and solve problems very quickly and cost effectively becomes critical to the success of a project.
The ability to effectively scale is an issue. The Telit IoT Portal is a very important, second-to-none offering. This has excellent tools to enable customers to management their deployments including connectivity management, device management, remote access monitoring and security.
We’ve invested in the development of a comprehensive portal so customers can manage their deployments remotely and solve problems online. This is vital because end devices include agents that give customer significant capabilities that they can use to manage their operations. This is one great challenge in the industry, but Telit thrives on innovating to stay in front of these challenges and deliver solutions like our portal. We are confident that this is what sets Telit apart from our competition.