Vodafone UK doubles down on IoT

UK telco Vodafone is seeking to breath life into its IoT strategy with the launch of a new range of services for businesses.

Having been an early cheerleader for the NB-IoT LPWAN standard, Vodafone had gone a bit quiet on that front of late. It seems the hype curve had to play out a bit after all the pre-5G hyperbole and, now that it’s had a year to bed it, maybe it’s time for the slope of enlightenment to make an appearance.

The new bundle of IoT joy doesn’t seem to have a collective name, but it owes a lot to IoT.nxt, a company Vodafone South African subsidiary bought a 51% stake in last year. It’s designed to provide IoT sensors and devices, create a data management platform, and offer professional services to companies that lack some or all of those capabilities in-house.

“We’re making it easy for any business to adopt IoT,” said Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone UK. “We’re taking away complexity, and making it simple to deploy, simple to manage, and simple to see the return on investment. With our colleagues at IoT.nxt we can be unique in the UK market – we’ll grow our leadership position from here, and deliver customers a digital capability that will prove invaluable in meeting the pressures of business today.”

“It’s great to be part of the Vodafone Group,” said Nico Steyn, CEO of IoT.nxt. “After a successful collaboration with Vodacom in South Africa, we are thrilled to power the new era of Vodafone UK’s IoT strategy. IoT is perceived by many businesses to be complex and bespoke, but it doesn’t have to be. We hope to change that perception with a platform which can be adapted to any business, and type of connection, and any use case.”

One of the reasons Vodafone has been banging on about IoT for so long is that it’s keen to diversify on top of its core connectivity offering – a process it thinks of as moving from telco to techco. On a media call about this launch UK CTO Scott Petty defended the NB-IoT standard that Vodafone has always favoured and maybe that too is set to emerge from the trough of disillusionment.

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