Younes Allaki is the chief technology officer of 1NCE, the provider of a revolutionary connectivity offering for IoT that enables IoT applications and services to access connectivity on a buy once, flat rate fee for ten years.
Here he talks to George Malim, the managing editor of IoT Now, about how connectivity for IoT needs to be simplified so the needs of IoT businesses can be supported effectively. His view is that learning what works and what doesn’t needs to happen quickly so ideas that don’t work can be discarded and organisations can have the freedom to fail because doing so is fast and cheap.
Having held senior management positions within the mobile and M2M/IoT markets, Allaki has a deep understanding of the challenges of providing cost effective mobile connectivity and the specific requirements of IoT applications. He has worked as project manager at Telefonica and Vodafone GmbH creating and implementing new MVNO products within the mobile discounter market in Germany.
Immediately before joining 1NCE, which launched at MobileWorldCongress this year, Allaki was vice president of M2M/IoT service development within the Group Innovation unit at Deutsche Telekom. In this role he was responsible for the plan, build and run of the M2M/IoT platform, addressing many IoT & Smart city verticals.
George Malim: IoT connectivity selection and operation has been made to appear complex as organisations look for the most suitable connectivity for their services. Are providers failing them in this when all customer organisations want is simplicity?
Younes Allaki: Simplicity is the key. IoT deployments encompass services in vastly different industries and address varying needs. Each deployment has its own specific set of requirements which necessitate different connectivity options, rarely is there a one-size fits all connectivity solution. Having worked for leading network providers as well as for new players in the connectivity market, I believe that both types of player have important attributes that are essential for serving the different customer needs within IoT.
At 1NCE we recognise that IoT solutions are different so we focus on keeping connectivity simple. To achieve this we have standardised the connectivity building block as much as possible in order to simplify integration of connectivity. In addition, we’re independent – we don’t carry a vendor’s tray but clearly focus on the core customer needs of connecting everything everywhere at any time and at a reasonable cost. By offering this no-frills product at a fair price with an innovative pricing model across Europe backed by our agile methodology, our lean organisation and flexible platform we’re truly meeting customers’ requirements.
GM: A lot of telecoms industry discussion centres on 5G for IoT but most use cases only require low bandwidth connections so should more technical focus be devoted to addressing these needs?
YA: Telcos and the telco industry traditionally expend remarkable effort to introduce next generation networks to serve the next generation of applications. There is no question that this is essential for driving innovation. Equally important in my view is the capability to offer existing connectivity technology as commodity services to accelerate the breakthrough of IoT applications and by doing that push service and process innovation. Backed by strong partner relations and capabilities our main target as 1NCE is to close this gap – starting in the European market.
GM: IoT success for many will depend on getting to market rapidly so how important is it to automate processes in order to accelerate delivery lead time?
YA: In a strategy that is aligned with most of our customers’ efforts to create an open ecosystem for IoT, 1NCE has engaged in a process of learning by building up an ecosystem where automation and open interfaces are key for delivering fast and reliable services. Savings in time and money are obvious outcomes of this process and experiencing these effects ourselves motivates us even more to support our customers with an easy-to-integrate programming interface to provision, manage and analyse their connections being essential for automation. Our customers also benefit from the advantages of managed security across multiple networks bundled with SIM lifecycle, data and SMS services in a single interface.
GM: How important will standardisation and open application programme interfaces (APIs) be in improving customers’ integration capabilities? Could waiting for standards cause delay?
YA: A high level of standardisation is defined as a basic rule in our company to ensure flexible integration of our virtual platform into partner ecosystems and easy interconnection with other network providers. This in turn enables our customers to integrate with a single interface for the connectivity service.
Open APIs and easy access to an online documentation are a must-have for enabling customers’ development teams to integrate external services rapidly into their application landscape. Our API approach supports our customers with full visibility into functions through open programming interfaces.
GM: Do you see self-service and webservices capabilities as the enablers of greater simplicity, lower costs and faster deployment speed for IoT connectivity?
YA: 1NCE operates a lean and virtualised network environment that enables us to realize savings that are reflected in our very competitive price model that customers directly benefit from. Self-service and self-diagnostic tools are continuously enriched and accessible through our customer portal and programming interface. We envision these capabilities will complement our customers target for a fully atomized environment and allow us to operate the connectivity platform efficiently.
It is this expertise and automation capability that removes friction from the connectivity process, removing complexity and ultimately accelerating IoT connectivity deployment. A further benefit is that this also reduces total cost of ownership and can therefore assist in constructing profitable business cases for IoT services. I’m very excited that 1NCE is entering the market to eradicate complexity from IoT connectivity and enable our customers with the connectivity their services need at a price that supports their profitability.