Barcelona is awesome. Even with the snow and pickpockets, the city delivered big on the promise of amazing tapas and an exciting event with Mobile World Congress (MWC) last week.

The big news of MWC centered around the coming of 5G and the impact on operators, service providers, and, frankly, the entire world. With higher bandwidth and lower cost, 5G has the promise to massively expand connectivity to new markets and products, effectively throwing gas on the IoT fire that is starting to blaze.

5G fits very well within Ayla's strong story around being a protocol-agnostic platform (more on that in a moment) with plans to support 5G devices as market adoption takes off. However, while MWC buzzed with 5G we here at Ayla quietly kept focus on another, massive, evolutionary step for telecom operators - leveraging device virtualization and management for business growth and opex reduction.

Virtualization and Management - a New Category of Platform 

Virtualization is not a new concept in tech. We've seen companies build strong businesses around virtualizing hardware platforms, operating systems, and storage devices. With IoT, virtualization is now being applied to everyday electronic 'things,' and the platform providers who do this best are winning in the market.

Here's how we at Ayla are doing so: 

  • Through virtualization, any physical device is represented in the Ayla Cloud, enabling a 'digital twin' that sets the schema for data ingestion and device management.
  • This virtualization can be enabled for devices running Ayla's Embedded Agents (which communicate directly to the Ayla cloud) and devices that communicate to other clouds, including those maintained by telecom operators, utilities, or retailers (data flows to Ayla's digital twin via a 2-way cloud-to-cloud connection).
  • Once virtualized, devices are easily managed in the Ayla Dashboard using a wide breadth of device management tools designed to monitor, support, and grow IoT device deployments. These tools include log analysis, OTA firmware updates, user management, data analysis, data streaming, and much more. 

To take this even further, Ayla is a 'protocol-agnostic' platform that does not restrict support for device type or transport protocol, able to support HTTPS, CoAP, and MQTT. In addition, Ayla supports multiple connectivity paths through our Embedded Agents running on Wi-Fi or cellular devices (including gateways) with connection to the Ayla Cloud.

With device virtualization and connectivity in place, data is freely ingested within our cloud platform and transported to Ayla's application enablement layer, which powers purpose-built business applications such as customer care portals, asset monitoring solutions, and field service portals.

So why is this device virtualization and management a massive evolutionary step for telecom operators? Three words: monetizing the network. When operators deploy IoT devices, virtualize, and manage them, great things happen, such as:

  • Drive new B2C revenue by connecting, managing, and selling high-value smart home solutions (e.g., security, elder care) through a singular device virtualization platform.
  • Drive new B2B revenue by developing and selling vertical applications (e.g., fleet management, asset tracking) that leverage network connectivity through a device virtualization platform.
  • Reduce complexity and support opex by consolidating management of multiple business lines/systems (e.g., VoIP, video) and new connected home solutions (e.g., security, elder care) into a singular device virtualization platform.
  • Reduce customer churn by analyzing performance of customer devices (e.g., video, VoIP, security, elder care) and proactively resolving issues through support applications. 

And just in case you need proof, last week during MWC Ayla's joint venture in China, Sunsea Telecommunications, announced a partnership with China Telecom that leverages the Ayla Platform to drive business growth from a new end-to-end IoT solution. This is in addition to Sunsea's existing partnership with China Unicom, who is actively leveraging Ayla's virtualization and management platform in a similar way.

So, while all the fuss is over the coming of 5G, the telecom world is (albeit a bit more quietly) making ready for their adoption of device virtualization and management platforms as a key component of their IoT strategy. Ayla is proud to be a leader in this space and looking forward to enabling more operators to start winning with IoT.

In my next blog we will dive deeper into the challenges facing telecom operators and discuss very tangible solutions provided by IoT and virtualization.