Nokia tries to bring global IoT under its WING

Nokia has announced the launch of a worldwide IoT-network-as-a-service which it will debut at Mobile World Congress later this month.

Jamie Davies

February 10, 2017

3 Min Read
Nokia tries to bring global IoT under its WING

Nokia has announced the launch of a worldwide IoT-network-as-a-service which it will debut at Mobile World Congress later this month.

The offering, which it has dubbed WING (worldwide IoT network grid), is designed to act as a borderless IoT network, enabling customers to ‘seamlessly’ connect business units around the world under one proposition, Nokia claims. One of the current drawbacks of the IoT world is an inability for multi-nationals to offer IoT services asthere is not yet a multi-national IoT platform which can support such ambitions.

By creating a federation of operators, while sitting on top of the tree as a conductor, Nokia says it can now offer a novel service for a much-hyped segment. Although Nokia may be the first to market with such an idea, it would be a safe bet there will be others to follow shortly.

Bringing all the operators together under the WING banner creates, in theory, a borderless, neutral network which connects all regions worldwide, where connectivity is enabled by intelligent switching between cellular and non-cellular networks. For example, a shipping container linked by a satellite in the ocean could switch to being connected by a cellular network near a port. Nokia would oversee the switching, meaning the customer would get a faultless experience, and only one bill, the company claims.

“IoT connectivity as a managed service is an answer for enterprises to the current IoT deployments that are hampered by the patchwork of business agreements to connect devices around the world,” said Igor Leprince, Head of Global Services at Nokia.

“Nokia WING will provide one global IoT grid. We cannot do this alone, and we are reaching out to communication service providers across the globe to collaborate with us so that we can extend the benefits of the connected world to more industries.”

Although it would appear Nokia is elbowing in on the operator’s managed services business model, the team claim there will be little cross over. Nokia will only target the worlds’ largest multi-national corporations as direct customers, while also offering the network as a white-labelled solution to operators. The operators can engage the rest of the multi-national corporations, as well as national customers who have international aspirations.

Whether Nokia feels this is a fair deal is redundant; the real test will be the feedback from the operators themselves. The operators may say they are happy with the set-up at the moment, however the definition of what the Nokia team feel should be their direct customers is rather vague. It’s a case of having your cake and eating it too. Nokia will target the most lucrative and profitable customers, but how far this reach is remains unknown for the moment.

The real litmus test will be what scraps make it through the claws of the networking giant and into the pockets of the operators. Whether this is enough to keep the cash-hungry operators happy is unclear for the moment, but your correspondent is predicting a bit of conflict in the future.

Overall, it a relatively sensible idea from Nokia, but it is another potential nail in the coffin of the operators. WING essentially muscles in on the managed services model, which the operators are reliant on for future successes, and will potentially cast the operators further towards the much dreaded waters of commoditization.

In other Nokia news, Three UK is deploying an integrated cloud native core network to meet the demands of VoLTE and high-definition video (for example) using Nokia tech. “Three carries 35% of mobile data traffic in the UK today,” said Graham Baxter, Chief Operating Officer of Three UK. “The cloud core network will enable us to scale even further and continue to offer great value and service innovation to our customers.”

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