Telenor Connexion is one of the strongest IoT solution providers globally, but it is not familiar to companies in Finland yet. It is a part of Telenor Group that is also the new owner of DNA. We interviewed the CEO Mats Lundquist about the state of IoT and his views on the Finnish market.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Telenor Connexion has been connecting things for more than 20 years. It has extensive experience especially in the automotive industry, smart cities, fleet, industrial manufacturing and heavy machinery. In Finland, Telenor Connexion has some customers, but no extensive foothold.
“We see tremendous opportunities for IoT in Finland. I think we are a perfect fit for big Finnish companies with an international presence. It is good that the Swedish and Finnish industrial structures are quite similar. Finland and the Nordics in general is a relatively mature market when it comes to digitalizing things and the right skills such as data analytics,” says Mats Lundquist, CEO of Telenor Connexion.
Global success stories with Volvo and Hitachi
Telenor Connexion’s customers cover a wide range of industries and services. In Sweden, Volvo Cars and Scania have been among the greatest success stories.
“We started with Volvo Cars many years ago with a remote heater, and now everything is about the connected car at the very core. Another early adopter was Scania with connected trucks around the world. They use real-time data to improve safety, performance and economy on the road,” CEO Mats Lundquist says.
Another success story is Japanese Hitachi. For ten years, its heavy construction equipment has been connected by Telenor Connexion to enable predictive maintenance and aftermarket services.
Key to success in IoT: A strategic approach
On top of global connectivity, Telenor Connexion offers a comprehensive IoT product portfolio. It includes tools and platforms to manage sensors, operations and analytics as well as advisory services. CEO Mats Lundquist points out that the threshold to start with IoT is now much lower than it was ten or five years ago.
“Companies can buy standardized platforms, and costs of hardware and connectivity have come down significantly. Time-to-market is a lot faster. However, we strongly believe that key for success in IoT is that you always need to start with strategy, not technology,” he says.
Mats Lundquist’s experience is that many companies start from the wrong angle. As a consequence, they get stuck in the piloting or the proof-of-concept phase.
“A company should not let its research and development department start with technology. You need a top down view and clear business value. When IoT is strategic, it secures support of the top management, which is crucial also for funding,” Lundquist comments.
Once the approach to IoT is correct, the next task is to secure a team with the right skill set. It is essential to look for an ecosystem of qualified partners, and to forget about trying to do everything in-house.
Rising trends: IoT with high data capacity and predictive maintenance
Naturally, technical development has been driving and will further boost IoT in multiple ways. New solutions such as 5G have been created to match demands of IoT, and they offer new very beneficial features.
Companies have started to deploy IoT even if it demands high data capacity, for instance, in video and augmented reality solutions. “4G and LTE-M networks are perfect for our customers' needs already. LTE-M’s one benefit is roaming, and it has strong interest,” says CEO Mats Lundquist from Telenor Connexion.
A clear trend is that with IoT companies want to move from selling products to selling services with new business models such as subscription-based services.
“Historically, there has been quite expensive products like heavy machines, trucks or cars, that companies have wanted to get data from to improve their R&D and to reduce operational costs. An area of increasing importance that involves more value to customers is predictive maintenance by remote monitoring, or even remote analytics and remote control,” Mats Lundquist says.
A strong global position
In terms of size and volume, Telenor Connexion is one of the leading IoT companies with about 13 million connected devices. It is in the top 3 in Europe and in the top 10 globally along with other big telecom operators.
“We have a very strong global position, and one reason to that is our global coverage. Across multiple industries, we see that companies look to IoT as a way to digitalize their services, and they need to connect products all over the globe in a similar way. They also require a commercial offering to match their product life cycle that can be fifteen years,” Mats Lundquist says.
Telenor Connexion covers about 200 countries in the world, and it has more than one roaming partner in every country. It has sales representation in the Nordics, other parts of Europe, South Africa, US, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and China. According to Mats Lundquist, the biggest growth in IoT takes place in the Asia-Pacific region where his company is well established.
“Being part of a telecom operator and having own networks is important to us and our customers. Telenor has 180 million mobile customers, and we get good roaming conditions and scale and also quality in connections,” CEO Lundquist says.
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