India is on a fast track to become one of the world’s most digital economies. The number of smartphone users in the country is expected to reach 829 million by 2022. Simultaneously, disruptive mobile and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies are set to transform the way people live, and the way organisations operate, becoming the new enablers for growth. Therein, Mobile Connectivity in India is bound to grow.
To illustrate, many cars today have smart parking assistance systems, and we are seeing self-driving cars tested on roads around the world. With the rapid pace of innovation in this sector, autonomous vehicles won’t be far off either.
More and more car manufacturers are equipping vehicles with cellular connectivity to enable them to gather data about the condition and location of each car, remotely and in real-time. It is now possible for manufacturers to stay connected to vehicles – even if a car was made in Japan and it is being driven on a road thousands of kilometres away in Jaipur. By analysing the data gathered, manufacturers are able to diagnose faults, programme new applications, or even analyse driver habits, patterns or even road conditions. These insights help improve the driving experience, support the development of new features and guide the design of new vehicles too.
Another example is how goods are delivered from A to B. Ubiquitous connectivity enables logistics companies to track the movement of individual consignments on a whole new level of detail, bringing light to where there was previously darkness; effectively illuminating a supply chain. In the past, a logistics company could determine the approximate location of goods but not know the state of those goods throughout the supply chain.
Now, thanks to cellular connectivity, logistics businesses, their partners and customers are able to monitor the conditions where goods are being transported. They are able to see the exact temperature and level of humidity, for example– and adjust these crucial variables in real-time. This insight enabled by mobile connectivity helps ensure that the goods will arrive intact to their intended destination, protecting the bottom line of the entire supply chain.
To make way for always-connected, borderless mobile services like these requires the redefinition of cellular connectivity. Businesses should be able to capture, move and manage data seamlessly, securely and cost-effectively everywhere, regardless of country borders.
Yet, the issue is that the majority of today’s cellular networks – while reliable and secure– are inherently local in nature. Just think about the roaming charges that you incur when travelling abroad just for a week. Then, think about the roaming charges that might be incurred by a car manufacturer with potentially hundreds of thousands connected vehicles in constant roaming mode around the world for several years.
New disruptive cross-border mobile and IoT services require international cellular connectivity, through a single, truly global virtual mobile network.
The benefits of a universal mobile network would be far-reaching for Indian enterprises and citizens. It would help accelerate the deployment of new mobile and IoT services locally and internationally, as businesses would no longer have to negotiate separate data connectivity agreements with individual mobile network operators in each country.
In a world where devices are born connected a single global mobile network, enabled by APIs, automation and the cloud, would not only give businesses unprecedented visibility and control over all their connected ‘things’, wherever they might be, but also reduce costs, as many devices are today perpetually roaming across country borders.
Crucially, re-imagining cellular connectivity in this way would unleash innovation across sectors: new business models would emerge, and people would be able to engage with organisations and with the world around them in whole new ways.