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IoT delivered to you by Zest4

February 22nd, 2018 by Anton Le Saux

Once perceived as a niche product delivered by a handful of specialists happy with small revenues, the IoT market has now become common place in our channels, sharing little in common with long-held perceptions.

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Future IoT prospects are now beyond doubt, but despite this brightening outlook for many key players in the mobile and fixed line space it’s been a slow burn. Even within Zest4 the sales team has been in the background for a while, reflecting the state of the market. But we have steadily grown the partner and customer base and increased recurring monthly revenues for all involved. Now IoT is at the tipping point. The market is ready, the propositions are ready and the price point is at its optimum.

Over the last 12-24 months IoT has caused a buzz and captured the imagination of home owners and big businesses alike . Everyone is talking about it, and it’s evolving very quickly.

Revenue growth and connectivity has increased by almost 40 per cent year-on-year. No longer is IoT just seen as a niche telematics solution, it has crept into our personal and business lives to offer us productivity, connectivity, efficiency and innovation.

The cost of an IoT module is no longer prohibitive. And the rise of apps, software, hardware and connectivity options means that the data required to run an IoT solution is minimised. We are now seeing applications that cover a range of consumer, small business and big enterprise customers. Every day new products are launched, whether it’s to control heating, reduce the cost of car insurance or manage personal health and wellbeing.

In the next few years all homes will have smart meters. And in the business world we are seeing asset tracking for large items such as vans, trailers and machinery. We are also starting to track and trace all assets right down to pallets, pets and any other valuable asset.

Businesses are becoming greener and IoT offers them regulatory and legislative solutions such as carbon footprint reduction while minimising operating costs. IoT has also enabled organisations to demonstrate a duty of care for their employees, and there is now an influx of mobile CCTV solutions that can be fitted to fleets of vehicles. At Zest4 we partner with SmartWitness, Europe’s leading supplier of this type of connectivity solution. With almost 300,000 vehicles across Europe using this technology we are now making it available for all of our partners to sell and offer to their customers.

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Connectivity back-up has never been more critical, and over the next 12-36 months we will witness connectivity solutions merge and communicate with each other into one big network. Local councils and government offices are looking at ways to make their cities smarter, and over the last year through our channel partners at Zest4, we have deployed solutions for parking, bus and train time-tabling, smart signage, pollution level monitoring, irrigation, vending, traffic flow, street lighting, waste management and much more.

The IoT market has advanced away from selling solutions to prospective customers, towards delivering solutions that customers actually want to buy. Both businesses and consumers are starting to ask for IoT connectivity, pulling it through the channel to become a mass market product. Customers are asking us how we can help them become more agile using technology, how we can help them minimise costs and how we can help them collate, pass and access data seamlessly between their computers, smartphones and machines.

The reseller market has an opportunity to build a new revenue stream from existing customers and acquire new customers. I firmly believe that the early adopters will be the future market leaders. As demand for IoT solutions intensifies it is inevitable that new market entrants will seek product knowledge and sales capability from their IoT provider. Consumers, small businesses and large enterprise clients will turn to their current suppliers for help and advice. They will expect an understanding of their requirements and a best fit solution. Incumbent suppliers who fail in this task not only risk losing future IoT business they could also lose the customer.

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While we will see IoT growth across the board there are many solutions that will help the reseller that does not yet sell IoT to offer a solution to their customer. The first is the connected car. This covers everything from vehicle tracking, infotainment, route planning, fuel consumption, carbon emissions, insurance, driver wellbeing and accident management. While the big network operators will no doubt win the business that comes from the big motor manufacturers to allow connectivity at the point of manufacture, the aftermarket space is going to be up for grabs for all other IoT resellers and at Zest4 we have two products in Smart Witness and Smart Geotab’s Smart Vehicle (plug and play device) that will allow resellers to offer this and win in the aftermarket space.

Another opportunity for resellers is the connected building (home, office, warehouses and other business premises), taking in utilities, heating, temp control, lighting, vending, waste management, security, asset tracking, efficiency, entertainment and will even filter into white goods and other electrical and personal items. At Zest4 we are already working with our partners on solutions that are currently being developed and deployed by the reseller are shaping this space.

Resellers who are not in the IoT market need to think about what they should be focusing on. Generating revenue streams from IoT is just part of the story though. To have real success in IoT you have to be able to manage the data. With every IoT application there is a stream of data transferred from one device to another. The key to the success of IoT is having the ability to analyse and interpret the data and deliver it in a useful format, manage the data cost, identify where it’s being used, aggregate where necessary and if needed apply data caps and bars in real time. At Zest4 we give all our resellers and their customers access to a secure data management platform that will allow full visibility of their IoT estate and enable them to efficiently manage it. Resellers that make sense of this data will be the ones that take the market share.

In summary, now is the time to make your move and make sure that you are the one that supplies this connectivity to your new and existing customers.

If you want to find out more about how Zest4 can help you sell IOT through your business or how IoT could benefit your own business get in touch at anton.lesaux@zest4.com or go to http://zest4.com/m2m to see how you can become a Zest4 IoT partner

How M2M and IoT technology could help local authorities reduce littering

February 8th, 2018 by Anton Le Saux

Back in the summer of 2017, the Government launched the Litter Innovation Fund – a new initiative designed to encourage local communities to come up with smart ideas to tackle the problem of littering. M2M and IoT technology could play a huge role in this new initiative and Zest4 can help.

Cleaning up the streets currently costs UK tax payers around £800 million a year, but much of this cost could be avoided with some clever thinking and some new, innovative ideas.

The Litter Innovation Fund was launched to enable local authorities, community groups, charities, educational institutions and small to medium enterprises to apply for funding towards the development of creative solutions to littering in their local areas. If successful, their ideas could be rolled out much more widely and even adopted nationally.

Here at Zest4, we are hugely supportive of the use of technology to tackle community-based issues, such as littering, and we’re working hard to develop solutions that enable communications resellers to help local organisations to succeed.

To help tackle the problem of littering, Zest4 are developing a new smart bin solution. Using smart sensors, GPS and cellular connectivity, the new solution will enable end users to remotely monitor fill levels in their bins and skips, and then deploy collection resources at optimum time periods. This will not only ensure that bins aren’t left overflowing, but it will also help to increase the efficiency of collection services which in turn will reduce costs.

How the sensors will work

  • Sensors are self-powered and installed in skips and bins around the City.
  • Sensors can be connected independently or as part of a clustered group reporting into a central hub.

 

Smart-Bins

  • The data from bins and skips is uploaded and stored on a cloud service. This information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for Councils.
  • The web portal will provide:
    • Alerts of full bins and live fill-level amounts of all bins, allowing Councils to monitor fill-level, maintenance, and collection activities.
    • Suggestions for locations which are full too soon after a collection and may require extra bins.
    • Route management – routes are calculated based on live fill-levels along with predictive pattern recognition.
    • The ability to become more efficient through data-driven decisions.
    • The ability to predict the generation of rubbish and increase collection efficiency.
      • Data collected from each bin is processed & analysed allowing Councils to create analytical reports for improving overall operations.
      • Managing accounts and product features can be done with ease.
      • Ensure drivers never pick-up empty containers again.

Overview of the process

Smart-Bin-Process

By including smart bin solutions in their litter improvement strategies, councils and local governments will have robust proposals that could grant them access to the Litter Innovation Fund. The fund currently offers grants of up to £10,000 for eligible organisations and up to £45,000 for projects aimed specifically at reducing litter entering the marine environment.

The first round of funding applications recently ended and applications are currently being assessed. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-February, after which time, development projects can get underway.

A further round of applications is planned for later in 2018, so communications resellers who work with local government and council customers, should introduce smart bin solutions to them now and help them develop plans for their future funding applications.

To find out more about M2M and IoT solutions from Zest4 and how communications resellers can generate revenue from this growing market, visit http://www.zest4.com/m2m/ or call the Zest4 team on 0161 956 3355.