IoT in Telecom: Key Use Cases, Benefits and Challenges

IoT in Telecom

Today, now that Internet of Things technology has entered practically all industries, it’s impossible not to note its impact on the telecommunications sector. The use of IoT in telecom is expected to significantly reduce operational costs, optimize working processes, and improve the safety of employees. But exactly how are telecom companies using IoT? How is all this possible? And how does IoT help the telecom industry address modern challenges? These are questions we will answer in this blog post.

Opportunities of IoT for Telecom

Digitalization globally is at a higher level than ever before, and so is the desire of individuals to stay connected. These trends have led to skyrocketing use and adoption of networked devices. Experts predict that by the end of 2022, the number of connected IoT devices will reach 14.4 billion, a year-to-year growth of 18%. Unfortunately, the industry is still feeling the impact of a global chip shortage produced by the pandemic. If the supply chain obstacle is dealt with, the worldwide number of connected devices could easily hit 27 billion.

And, as part of the Industry 4.0 revolution, networks of connected devices are expanding, and the demand for services requiring that connection is growing. Here is where the expertise of telecommunications companies has the biggest impact. Some have already entered this field and provide their own connectivity services, smart devices, sensors, and apps. Industry giants such as Verizon and Vodafone, for example, already offer narrowband IoT networks that can ensure low-cost, stable signal coverage for connected devices.

Top IoT use cases in telecom

Let’s have a closer look at the key use cases of IoT in telecom to better understand the advantages they bring to the industry.

  • Smart homes and offices

Smart home systems have been around for a while, but they’ve been modified and enhanced a lot. Telcos are playing an important role in their development. Among the most important and promising achievements in this sphere are the implementation of narrowband IoT networks and 5G. This symbiosis of IoT and mobile systems is vital for solution automation. IoT and telecommunications play an important role in tasks and processes involved in smart buildings, such as management of lighting, temperature, appliances, security, and others.

  • Healthcare

This industry is one that is actively adopting IoT solutions and devices, including innovative wearables and traditional medical equipment enriched with smart sensors and connected to a common network. Given this fact, telecommunication companies are building ties with healthcare institutions for ensuring high-quality, fast and cost-efficient connections. IoT helps telecom providers not only increase the reliability of remote medical services and the accuracy of diagnoses but also to streamline their problem-solving processes in a remote format.

  • Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous driving is being actively explored by numerous carmakers all over the world. Automotive infrastructure and connected vehicles are one of the areas that unite the capacities of telecommunications, namely 5G technologies, and IoT. To make vehicles fully autonomous, cars as well as their environment must be equipped with smart sensors. These sensors are designed to define and interpret conditions to make sure that the car is moving safely. LTE-V solutions that currently can be used for designing IoT devices allow for organized interaction and data exchange between cars.

  • Equipment monitoring

The telecom industry provides the infrastructure necessary to ensure communication among people all over the world. Companies that offer such services own a huge quantity of various types of equipment that must be serviced and maintained in a timely fashion. That requires continuous monitoring that’s impossible using only human resources. IoT solutions, incorporating sensors and smart devices, can control various factors that demonstrate the current state and health of equipment.

  • Industrial monitoring systems

Telecom companies can also help industrial enterprises to increase the transparency and visibility of all their processes, including not only the manufacturing of goods but also all the stages of supply chains. One of the key advantages of using IoT in this sphere is the possibility to significantly optimize the use of resources, equipment, and facilities. Thanks to the introduction of highly customizable solutions that will help to unite all the steps of production and shipment into one network, it is possible to achieve both: growing productivity and decreasing operating expenses.

  • Protection of properties and facilities

This use case is probably relevant in any industry that we can only talk about. And the key goal of the implementation of IoT security solutions is to reduce the risks of damage or theft of expensive machinery, equipment, and tools. IoT-powered smart cameras are among the most popular solutions applied by companies and enterprises from different spheres. By using the advantages of the Internet of Things networks, telecom companies help to restrict access of unauthorized parties to valuable assets which leads to the enhancement of the physical safeness of such objects and the prevention of potential threats.

  • Smart cities

This is a comparatively new concept based on a combination of 5G and narrowband IoT capacities. Such projects have become possible thanks to cooperation established between telcos, local governments, and authorities. In the framework of such projects, telecommunication companies provide the infrastructure necessary to create connectivity between urban objects. Solutions powered by IoT in telecom play an enormous role in data management and monitoring, which allows local authorities to make well-informed decisions that offer the highest value for the economy and society.


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Benefits of IoT in telecom

When speaking about IoT and telecommunications, it’s worth mentioning not only the new growth opportunities telcos get for expanding their services but also the advantages and value the Internet of Things bring to the industry.

iot in telecom

  • Security at facilities. Thanks to the network of connected devices powered by smart sensors, users can control, track and manage various parameters. Telecommunications companies need to maintain constant control over their cell towers, and it’s expensive and time-consuming to monitor the state and functioning of each tower manually. IoT in telecom can optimize and facilitate monitoring and troubleshooting. With smart sensors that monitor environmental, security, and energy factors, telecommunications equipment can be tracked without interruptions, helping to guarantee 24/7 uptime.
  • Reliable data. The Internet of Things in telecom helps companies gain access to huge volumes of important data in real time. IoT sensors collect a lot of critical information that can be accumulated in purposely created info pools. This gathered information can be used by companies to obtain valuable business insights and analytics to help them adjust their services. Big data tools, in combination with IoT in telecom, represent a powerful mechanism for building reliable predictive models and understanding trends important to the industry.
  • Enhanced safety. Every enterprise that has remote facilities or sites knows that the risks related to these objects are extremely high. There are a lot of weather factors and conditions (like fire) that can’t be controlled but have a serious impact. The Internet of Things in telecommunications can monitor the safe operation of equipment, giving the company the ability to take timely preventive measures and avoid serious damage. When smart sensors detect any danger, the telco as well as relevant authorities will immediately get an alert.
  • Increased revenue. Thanks to the implementation of IoT services, telecom operators can introduce innovative value-added services for their clients. Coupled with the expanding opportunities, growing customer satisfaction lets telecommunication companies increase their profits. After the analysis of the current market state, we can define the most profitable sectors for telecoms the development of which can be boosted by the introduction of IoT solutions. They are cloud services, including PaaS and SaaS offers.
  • Higher speed. With IoT technologies, telecommunication service providers can also leverage the advantages of advanced bandwidth and increased speed of data exchange. With 5G network and IoT protocols, it is possible to ensure the transfer of information from hundreds and thousands of various devices to users without connection quality deterioration and data losses. What’s more, IoT solutions always allow telecoms to serve millions of interconnected devices at the same time and to reach a higher energy efficiency of their operations.

Challenges of IoT in telecom and how to turn them into gains

Despite the huge number of benefits that telecoms and their customers can enjoy thanks to the implementation of IoT, the use of IoT platforms, systems, and networks is directly associated with a row of challenges. However, we believe that these difficulties shouldn’t discourage telecom companies from introducing such technologies to their work. What’s more, the existing challenges can be transformed into benefits.

  • The need for interoperability. Various devices should be connected and should be able to communicate with each other. To ensure this, it is necessary to use normalized protocols that will guarantee functional interaction.
  • Big data management. The introduction of IoT solutions is closely tied to the work with high volumes of data. And it is one of the challenges for telecom operators today that want to deliver IoT services. To deal with this task, they need to use agile and scalable computing platforms that won’t negatively affect the productivity of apps.
  • Security and privacy issues. Ensuring absolute confidentiality and security is among the top tasks for IoT-powered systems. Nevertheless, IoT-connected devices usually have limited memory resources. It means that info has to be stored remotely which leads to increased risks. In addition, IoT devices also remain to be an attractive piece for hackers. It means that telecoms need to invest heavily in the solution to such a problem in order to protect valuable data and win a new competitive advantage for themselves.

The future of IoT in telecommunications

Given all the benefits IoT brings to the telecom industry, as well as all the opportunities that arise after introducing the Internet of Things to telecommunications, it’s reasonable to conclude that usage of these technologies is very promising. Here are some of the concepts and fields where IoT is expected to help a lot:

IoT telecom

  • Smart IoT-based environments. These projects powered by IoT in the telecom industry are among the most crucial. They can be used in a wide range of spheres, including smart homes and cities, healthcare, transport, etc.
  • The Green IoT. This concept includes rewarding users for using already existing tools for gathering, storing, and accessing data.
  • Smart services for people. Future projections suggest that IoT tools will give people even more improved channels of communication with various organizations and authorities that will deliver services directly.

Instead of a closing word

IoT in the telecommunications industry not only expands the range of services but also improves characteristics of those services, for example connection speed. Though it may take some time for telcos to adopt new tools and to shape their offerings for various spheres such as retail, healthcare, and others, the future looks bright for these initiatives.

If you need professional help in building software products powered by IoT for the telecom industry, do not hesitate to contact us and share your ideas. We will do our best to offer you the most cutting-edge solution tailored to your needs!



What is IoT in telecom?

The Internet of Things technologies allow developers to unite into one network different physical objects and devices and ensure real-time data exchange between them. IoT in telecom presupposes using the capabilities of such technologies for delivering new types of products and services for the needs of different industries, from healthcare to agriculture and manufacturing.

How do telecom companies use IoT?

Telecom operators rely on IoT technologies for achieving a higher speed of data exchange, minimizing downtime, increasing their own power efficiency, and handling a great number of connected devices simultaneously. All this helps companies to enhance the quality of their services and get the possibility to enjoy higher revenues.