MVNO Versus IoT

Telecoms is changing fast. Not only is the game changing, but the playing field the game is played on is changing as well.

Lumbering onto this playing field, like two rubber-suit monsters from a 1950’s Japanese horror film, comes MVNO, followed by IoT.

These two monsters could be in an uneasy stand-off, warily eyeing each other’s rubber tentacles as surrounding cardboard buildings are crushed under outsized costume reptile boots. Or they could be forming an alliance, spewing forth destruction to all comers while screaming badly dubbed monster noises.

It depends on your viewpoint. To allow you to make up your own mind, let’s look at these two in more depth.

Meet MVNO

MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. It is a way to introduce smaller Mobile Operators to the market, bringing their own niche products and services. Rather than having the large Providers stifle competition, MVNOs allow smaller companies to gain market-share. Using available infrastructure means less cash investment, and this in turn means launching new services becomes a much more viable option.

And Introducing – IoT

IoT, or the Internet of Things, has been widely hailed as the next ‘big thing’. Rather than internet connectivity being just for people browsing, buying or interacting with others, it is now a method of connecting devices to other devices, or central processing systems. A good example could be a smart fridge. This knows what cycles you buy groceries in, when you last bought, and when you should buy more. This functions by being connected to the internet. Without an internet connection a smart fridge becomes a dumb fridge.

The IoT is heading towards a completely connected world. Being able to unlock your car with a smartphone app. Feeding your cat from thousands of miles away. Turning the kettle on when you are walking home from work. All are made possible by connecting devices to the internet.

The Playing Field

As we said at the start, the telecoms game is changing fast. Even the playing field the game is played on is changing. Along with technology advances pushing connectivity further into our lives on a personal level, it is also causing change on a national level. Persistent rumours that BT is switching off the traditional phone system, for instance. Or the linking of traffic cameras to central management systems via a 4G connection.

The changes mean potential disruption, but also opens the door for plenty of opportunities.

An MVNO can now set up, buying an allocation of network capacity from a larger Operator, and passing this allocation along to their direct customers. The MVNO can add value to this, supplying niche services and innovative products.

We can now tie together the two stars of this article in their showdown – IoT meets MVNO!

A SIM card set up to only supply data is the magic ingredient which powers a lot of the IoT. After all, the devices don’t operate by magic. They must have a communication capability, which talks to the internet. This capability is supplied by a SIM card, just the same as in the mobile phone you carry.

The difference is that the SIM card in an IoT device is set to only allow data. It can’t send or receive calls or texts. This data transfer is what allows the device to talk to other devices, or a central processing system. Your smart fridge, when it alerts you that you need milk, does this by sending a data message over the internet to an app on your mobile.

Obviously there has to be a link between the two things, and this is provided by an internet connection. If the internet were to fail, then smart devices would lose all ability to respond to requests or send information.

Any companies out there who are developing or releasing an ‘IoT’ device should contact us regarding how we can help with a data-only SIM. We can develop SIM cards for projects and devices, set up to meet your requirements.

Any companies who use mobiles as part of their day to day operations, for instance keeping staff members in touch with one another, or giving emergency services access to lone workers on site, should consider one of our Mobile SIM cards.

We can customise SIM cards on a company-by-company, or project-by-project basis, giving you the best solution for your requirements.

Read more on the SureVoIP® Mobile SIM
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The Problem With Mobile Phones In Unified Communications

Mobile Phones – Cultural Impact

Our mobile phones have become an integrated part of how we live. Just take a passing glance at any group of teenagers to confirm this. Heads bowed with faces lit up by the small screen, eyes fixed downwards, thumbs tapping out messages to friends. Even if they are standing a few yards away.

But it’s not just teenagers who are mobile phone-obsessed. Most of us have at least one phone, some have more. The work phone. The home phone. The old one which you hang on to because it works in places where your new one doesn’t.

We rely on them for internet on the go, or for our personal and business communications. We text, call and use messaging apps. Play games, check the weather forecast, even pick potential dates!

Business owners will often use a mobile almost continually. It provides flexible and portable communications, allowing people to be constantly in contact, no matter where they are or what they are doing.

Those working in remote areas, those in offices without a fixed phone line, or those who work without an office at all can all benefit from that handy device in their pocket.

Obligations for Employers

If you have employees who need to communicate to work, and they fall into any of these categories, then your company has an obligation. The onus is on you to provide employees with the correct resources to do their jobs effectively.

You also have an obligation to ensure employee safety. Are your employees using their own mobile phone for work purposes? If so, can you ensure their safety and privacy? After all, they have now given some of their own personal data away to someone they know only in a work context.

Anyone in business can not possibly have missed the changes to the GDPR legislation. This can have a double impact. Firstly, are any personal details being released about the employee which shouldn’t be? Secondly, are any customer details now insecure due to their being stored on an employee mobile? You must check if the legislation applies to your company. If it does, you must put in place a response plan for potential breaches. You must also put together a robust business case for having the data in the first place, and why it was used in the way it was. Contact details of a customer, released accidentally due to the information being on an employee’s personal mobile, would almost certainly constitute a breach of legislation. The onus is on you to ensure what risks your data handling procedures potentially pose, and what risks you could pass on to customers and employees.

There are other issues around mobile phone use – how do you manage usage, functionality, costs and contracts on an ongoing basis? If an employee were to leave with a company mobile, how would you react? Do you have the resources in place to manage the situation effectively?

Unified Communications

Many organisations, particularly the larger ones, are looking at an overall approach to their IT and telecoms requirements. In jargon terms, this is often referred to as “Unified Communications”. If your company is looking at this, then you will be faced with the task of evaluating and then implementing a company-wide integrated approach.

With the advent of cloud-based VoIP telecoms, and browser-based management systems, a unified approach to communications is now possible for smaller companies. However, no matter what size your company, specifying and implementing a Unified Communications approach can be a daunting task.

Any company-wide change will always prove challenging, and rolling out an integrated approach to IT and telecoms is no different.
Using a VoIP Provider, as opposed to on-site systems, means less capital expense, and should prove less of a drain on staff time. Handing this side of your requirements to a specialist means you have access to expertise and resources you don’t have yourself. On-site telecoms systems are a bit of a specialist area, and require a deal of expertise and experience to install and manage effectively. You should consider not just the cost of equipment and installation, but also the potential cost of setting the system up incorrectly. How much money would your company lose if you stopped receiving customer phone calls, even for one day? What would the impact be, not just for direct sales, but also loss of reputation? How many customers would be driven to contact your competitors?

A cloud-based VoIP service, supplied by a business-grade Provider, is an ideal alternative. You receive a telecoms service which fits your needs, without the capital expense or headache of management.

Moving to look at integrating your staff mobile phone requirements, how do you manage users? How do you allocate the correct amount of data, or the correct split of national and international calling? Is part of your overseas staff provision an allowance to call family at home, or is this considered a personal expense?

Once the decisions have been made, another question arises. How do you actually implement the results of your analysis?

Project Implementation

A lot of this can be cleared up by simply choosing a Provider which supplies a complete solution. You need a Provider which can give you a Mobile phone solution, a company telecoms solution, and a solution for internet connectivity.

As you know, SureVoIP can supply internet and telecoms. Our VoIP services cover a suite of functions as required by our varied customer base. After all, we provide services for all sizes of company in a variety of sectors. We provide our award-winning, business-grade VoIP service to a wide variety of companies, from national charities to multi-national oil majors. From individual tradesmen working on the road, to artisan boutiques.

Our broad range of experience and expertise puts us in an excellent position to assist, and our Technical Team can offer expert, impartial advice.

We offer a range of connectivity solutions, from FTTC to Leased Lines. If you are a single worker in a home office, we can help. If you are a national corporation, seeking to link different sites together over your own dedicated connection network, we can help.

And now, thanks to our new Mobile SIM offering, we can help with the mobile phone aspect of your telecoms as well.

Our SIM plans are built with the needs of business and industry in mind. We offer a scalable and easy-to-implement solution addressing the problem of using mobile phones within a suitable company framework. You can handout employee SIM cards tailored to company requirements. If you wish employees to have limited data per month, or to have national-only calls, we can deliver this for you. Rather than having to monitor employee usage, just leave it to your preconfigured SIM card. Anything you want disallowed is disallowed, anything you want allowed is allowed. It’s as simple as that.

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On The Road

Life as a company representative is never easy.

Constant travelling. Hotel stays. Hotel breakfasts. Cold toast and over-priced cornflakes.

If you have become overly familiar with any of the above then you are probably also familiar with the problems of staying in contact.

After all, you are not travelling for fun. You are working to represent a company in an area which is not their core geographical area. Therefore, there you are. The single point of contact for the company, located overseas, and with limited ways of staying in touch.

The only communications method you have is the life-line in your pocket. Your mobile phone. This gives your customers a way of making contact and your company a way of updating you and gathering feedback.

As an internet-connected device, it is your way of finding information, and researching clients or potential clients.

It is also potentially your source of entertainment. Your contact with your family and loved ones. Your news source.

The motivation behind keeping this vital asset fit-for-purpose is considerable.

If any of the above points have hit home, then you should be considering a SureVoIP® Mobile SIM.

Our SIM will automatically find the best Provider for you, wherever you are. If a signal is available, then your SureVoIP® SIM will find it.

For those for whom staying in contact is vital, then you need a robust solution which is working for you, not against you. With one of our SIMS, you know that you have the most reliable communications and internet capable device you can have. Wherever you are, conveniently in your pocket.

For those who are tasked with managing and equipping company Representatives, or Teams of Representatives, then our SIM plans and packages are ideal. They offer a convenient and scalable solution which can be tailored to any environment and specification you wish. Want to limit data usage and international calling? No problem. Want to allow calls in country only, or restrict calls to mobiles? Again, no problem. Let us know the problem, and we’ll find the solution for you.

Whether you are a Company Representative yourself, or are tasked with managing Representatives, get in touch now to find out just how we can help.

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Always In Contact With The SureVoIP® Mobile SIM

The SureVoIP® Mobile SIM provides the perfect solution for those who work in areas with poor signal or only one Provider. Rather than being tied to a single Provider, no matter what deal they offer, you can roam freely between all the Providers available in the area. In the UK, this means EE, 02 and Vodafone.

If you work abroad it will roam between the Providers it can find to keep you in touch. With the SureVoIP® Mobile SIM you will always be in contact.

This gives a great solution for those who work in remote areas, areas with poor coverage or for those for whom a mobile signal is a necessity.

Great news if:
• You have to work in remote areas
• You regularly encounter areas with poor or no signal from your current Provider
• Your line of work requires you to stay in constant contact
• You absolutely have to have a file emailed in to a deadline, no matter where you are
• Your work is considered vital and lives may be at risk if you are not in contact
• You have a hobby or interest which takes you to poor coverage areas and your phone is your safety line.

From an organisation point of view, teams of employees or contractors working remotely can be a time-consuming headache.

Many larger organisations face the problem of managing large teams working outside the office. They may work outwith your standard office hours. They may work in a completely different country. Or they could be out on the road, with little support from head office.

Support personnel, service engineers, sales people. All are a potential headache for a Purchasing or Personnel manager to keep track of.

Staff in these roles can pose a major problem when it comes to management and accountability. All can be time-consuming to manage effectively.

Organising their telecoms can be the worst part of the whole situation.

Do you tell staff just to use their own mobiles? If so, who pays their bills? If they use it for personal and business use, how do you split the bill in two? Who spends the time to check all the calls?

Do you give staff a work mobile? If so, how do you manage usage? Do you really want staff to be able to call anywhere in the world, uncontrolled?

The problem is ultimately how you align this business function with your overall framework. If you have prescribed business processes, then you need a service which offers an appropriate feature set combined with adaptability.

The SureVoIP® Mobile SIM gives a truly business-grade solution to the problem.

Designed from the outset with flexibility and usability in mind, our Mobile SIM provides an adaptable and feature-rich solution to the problem of managing employee communications.

You can control calls, texts and data. So you can implement a communications structure which suits the way your company wishes to operate.

Get in touch to find out how The SureVoIP® Mobile SIM can lift some of your workload and make your life as a manager easier.

Get in touch now if remaining within mobile signal is vital for you to perform your required tasks.

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5 questions about new SureVoIP products and services

We’re thinking about some new additions to the SureVoIP offering and would love you to take a quick 5 question survey to make sure it’s the right thing for us to do.

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We’ve doubled our VoIP capacity again due to growth in 2012 and our 2013 plans

Hi all,

Hope you’re having a great year too? With 2012 almost coming to an end it’s time to just summarise where we are and what’s been happening in our world of VoIP.

We’ve now doubled our VoIP capacity with BT wholesale again to meet upcoming business in 2013. What else? Here’s a quick list as I know you’re very busy:

  • We have secured funding from the Scottish Business Gateway for a new business plan and sales and marketing work. This is paving the way for us to develop our own ISP related to VoIP in 2013. It is also helping with a new marketing video, website revamp, better purchase experience so your products are instantly live and a new customer and partner portal (plus other things)
  • We’ve joined RIPE – those techies of you will know this is the first step to running your own Broadband and other connectivity products
  • We’ve entered the ITSPA Awards again have high hopes we’ll win it
  • Our iPhone app is getting shown to us this month which is being developed in partnership with RGU
  • We’re closed for Christmas (I hope you are too)
  • We’re launching a brand new conferencing and web meeting product (more this month but it is a real game changer)
  • We’re moving office so we can accommodate more staff
  • We’re working hard on the most requested feature which is call packages
  • The SureVoIP API developer portal will be ready after the new year
  • SureVoIP partners are using the API in some cool ways

We’ve a couple of press releases out before the year end so keep an eye out. How has your year been?

Thanks,

Gavin.

P.S. Have you seen our SureVoIP 5 star reviews?

UK Mobile price drop to 7p ex VAT per min to O2, 3, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone

Just a quick one to say that we are delighted to announce a very competitive UK mobile price drop from 9.5p ex VAT to 7p ex VAT for calls to O2, 3, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone using SureVoIP.

Enjoy!

P.S. Read the latest SureVoIP reviews