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Enabling widespread adoption of IoT among businesses

07 Jun 2022
Marc Sauter

Marc Sauter

Head of IoT Product Management,
Vodafone Business

The benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) are vast, with the technology providing businesses greater efficiency, sustainability, and agility.

IoT was a lifeline to businesses throughout the pandemic, with our research finding that 84 per cent of companies felt IoT had ensured business continuity during COVID-19 and 95 per cent saw a positive return on investment.

Despite these benefits, IoT is often seen as a technology exclusively available to larger businesses because of its cost and perceived complexity. This has led to many small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) not investing in the technology and capitalising on the impact it can have.

As data becomes more critical to every business and hybrid working continues at pace, IoT is set to become more important, and companies of all sizes need efficient methods of adopting this technology to manage their assets and operations.

Our recent Fit for the Future research also found that small businesses are lagging behind their larger counterparts when it comes to digital transformation, and many didn’t even have a plan in place pre-pandemic.

This is why we have created Vodafone Business IoT Cloud Bridge for Azure, which connects IoT devices to cloud applications in a seamless, secure, and automated way.

This is the latest development out of our relationship with Microsoft, where the goal is to better support businesses across the globe to digitally transform, with the initial rollout planned for the United States.

By working with Microsoft, we aim to give SMEs the tools they need to be successful in a digital world. But that isn’t to say that this capability is limited to small businesses, as all organisations can benefit from IoT technologies.

Simplicity and security out of the box

In the new world of work, businesses need solutions that streamline their operations and make them more efficient. Recent Kaleido Intelligence research shows that one of the most common issues with cellular IoT connectivity solutions is that integration between the connectivity platform and back-end software are too complex1.

Our IoT Cloud Bridge solution means that IoT device provisioning is simplified, requiring minimal touch during device and application onboarding, enabling businesses to scale at speed.

We are providing the infrastructure to connect and authenticate the devices and relay data to Microsoft IoT Azure, allowing customers to seamlessly manage the device without any further complex architecture integration.

The capability is device agnostic and compatible with any customer device suite operating with a Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) protocol, which is particularly suited to low power devices using NB-IoT and LTE-M.

It also leverages our IoT connectivity footprint, allowing them to expand globally easily.

Security is built into our IoT Cloud Bridge solution, with end-to-end encryption between devices and Azure Cloud facilitating a secure and reliable communication. This means businesses do not have to worry about security concerns that are sometimes associated with IoT devices and can have peace of mind that their data is secure.

How does it work?

Vodafone Business IoT Cloud Bridge works by extending our Managed IoT Connectivity Platform to allow businesses to associate SIMs with an Azure application, such as IoT Hub or IoT Central.

This provides businesses with one-step provisioning of devices, pairing them directly into Microsoft Azure IoT.

From here, Lightweight M2M device data is forwarded by our Cloud Bridge solution for ingestion into the organisation’s Azure application. This completely simplifies IoT connectivity and provisioning to the cloud.

By harmonising technology in this way, organisations can be better prepared for the world of tomorrow with instant access to data to make faster and more accurate decisions in the face of constant disruption and changing customer expectations.

If you are interested in using Vodafone Business IoT Cloud Bridge for Azure, please register your interest here.

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