Telecoms and cloud company Tata Communications has been on a mission to bolster its credibility in the IoT space for some time.
As previously reported, the company revealed plans for India’s first LoRaWAN (LoRA) based network last year and is working with tech giant HPE and its Universal IoT Platform.
Tim Sherwood, Tata Communications’ vice president of mobility & IoT solutions, has now detailed more specifically how the company aims to work more closely with software developers to create what it hopes will be compelling (and useful) technologies.
Moving on up
Tata’s Move IoT connectivity platform is part of the company’s long-term strategy for its mobility services portfolio and its vision of creating what it calls ‘an access- and usage-agnostic’ experience for people and things.
Move aims to integrates with Tata’s IZO private cloud to connect ‘things’ to applications in the cloud.
“[Move] has been designed with the needs of developers in mind, as it has a suite of APIs for developers to use, thus effectively creating access to a virtual global network comprising hundreds of local mobile network operators. The development potential is complemented by online self-management capabilities that can be configured to manage usage, devices, policy, etcetera,” says Sherwood.
With Move, Tata Comms claims it is specifically focusing on large-scale cross-border IoT deployments in verticals including automotive, transportation, logistics, fleet management, tele-medicine and consumer devices.
“In India, Tata Communications’ LPWAN LoRa network is already deployed in a number of cities, with an aggressive roll-out plan. It is expected to become the largest IoT network in the world once it is fully deployed,” Sherwood claims.
“The LP-WAN provides a backbone network, but this is just part of the strategy, as we are also working with software companies, hardware suppliers and application developers to create a complete IoT ecosystem, that allows organizations to connect objects and applications simply and energy-efficiently.”
A ‘safe landing’ for IoT developers
The network itself is classified as a super low-power, secure, bi-directional communications technology. According to Tata, it offers ‘a safe landing’ for developers looking to create and deploy fully functional applications in areas such as energy and smart cities, healthcare, transportation, telecoms and security.
There’s some marketing spin here, but this notion of a ‘safe landing place’ is substantiated to a degree by Tata Communications’ efforts to provide a substrate programming layer, where a good degree of the mobile connectivity concerns have already been addressed.
“Developers should not have to concern themselves unduly with mobile connectivity, because Tata manages the mobility aspect on their behalf. However, developers should consider the potential associated with the possibility of 28 billion connected devices in the world by 2022, as Ericsson predicts,” Sharwood says.
“Developers can take advantage of APIs and platforms in the development of new applications. There are learning(s) from other areas of technology that should be harnessed in IoT too. For instance, we are working with several of our partners to help them procure and implement global access numbers for UCC in a matter of minutes by tapping into our voice capabilities as a wholesale voice carrier.”
Tata Communications has promised to expand its API offering in the coming months, with the aim of lowering the barriers for developers to innovate in the cross-border data mobility and IoT market – currently worth around $4 billion.
Parent company Tata Group’s scope, meanwhile, extends from Tata Tea to IoT in connected cars. This diversity, could, arguably, give it just the kind of multilateral field of vision needed to make it big in the IoT space.