By Gaurav Jain, Vice President, Global Support at Aeris, India
Traditionally, the Application/ Solution Platform companies have been providing standard support service models which are centred around extending L2 and L3 level of support services to the customers with limited focus on Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Turnaround time (TAT) and Key Performance Index (KPI) metrics. Customers were expected to establish their own L1 level of support and also coordinate with any 3rd party vendor involved in the deployed solution. This model continued in IT over so many years as it allowed the technology companies to maintain the focus on their core business, core technology and core skills sets.
However, with the wave of digitization programs emerging in the 21st century, the platform services market witnessed a change with introduction of real-time applications and mission critical solutions. The evolution of various mission critical solutions requiring high availability, faster resolution and aggressive SLAs, gave rise to “Managed Support Services Model”. Under this new enhanced support model, application/solution providers were expected to include the L1 support and support for 3rd party components deployed in the solution.
To cater to the growing demand of end-to-end managed support services for the new age mission critical and real-time solutions, some of the technically rich and future oriented solution companies developed their expertise, skills and in-house tools for providing end-to-end support services with technical capabilities to meet aggressive SLAs requirements, faster resolution time and high availability. This kind of comprehensive managed support services model has become quite prominent nowadays in most of the industries, be it Telecom or Energy or Healthcare or the Finance sector.
Now, the world of technology services is witnessing yet another wave of change with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT market size was USD 190.0 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 1,102.6 billion by 2026, a CAGR of 24.7% (Fortune Business Insights). Globally, enterprises are now gearing towards automation and advancing their digital transformation with the deployment of IoT-enabled solutions in the post covid19 era. By leveraging smart devices, advanced automation, and cloud networks, IoT technology offers unlimited opportunities to increase productivity, lower the costs, and enhanced customer experience. However, this technology brings in more complexity as it involves a larger value chain comprising devices, sensors, connectivity, cloud, analytics, application enablement, billing & rating and solution platforms. With the diversity of IoT ecosystem and solutions, the traditional support services model is failing to meet the expectations of the customers and end users, who are now feeling the heat in the absence of a newly defined “Managed Service” support model for IoT solutions.
Typically, any IoT solution irrespective of kind of use case consist of three key components: Smart Device (sensors), Application platform and Connectivity (Blue-tooth/wi-fi/GSM/wired).
Most of companies in IoT are specialised in one of the three areas specific to their domain areas only. Therefore, end users and customers are directed to the device, connectivity or application platform vendors in case of any issues are experienced with these key components of an IoT solution.
There is an additional requirement of an evolved multi-tier approach for the managed support services model to address the needs of complexity in IoT solutions and services. The multi-tier approach starts with constant performance monitoring of key IoT components without any dependency on 3rd party suppliers for devices, sensors or connectivity. This helps in proactively addressing any service-related issues which might impact the live IoT implementations in the field. The next level of this evolved approach includes the performance tuning, maintenance and regular testing of key IoT components to ensure the consistent performance, quality data metric and high availability of the IoT solution for proper functioning and data exchange. The final piece includes the capability and tools to analyse the reported field issues for quick resolution. Support team uses mostly AT commands to test the field condition of the devices and on-ground connectivity status, whenever any issue is reported by end users. They can test the status of connectivity, in terms of coverage, data session and payload transaction at a specific location. Support team can refresh the network and ensure the network latching of the device without referring it to connectivity service provider. This multi-tier approach helps in addressing almost 90% of device and connectivity related issues of any IoT solution in shortest possible time.
Below diagram describes the building blocks of multi-tier end-to-end managed service support model for IoT covering device/sensor, connectivity and platform.
Though the demand for IoT implementations in many industry verticals is on the rise, only handful of IoT solution and service providers have made serious investments in making their offerings completely protected and secure. As 50 billion connected IoT devices will be operational by 2025, there is a strong need for implementing multiple security measures at device, connectivity, account and platform level to restrict the access and maintain the confidentiality of the user’s data. There are few companies who have definitely taken the lead in this direction with their futuristic vision, reskilled their workforce and upgraded processes. Aeris is one of such organisation who had geared-up themselves to deliver efficient, cost effective, secure, highly available support service model of “Managed Services” for complex IoT solutions and services for industry verticals, such as, automobiles, manufacturing, agriculture, financing and insurance, fleets management, utilities and more.
In the nutshell, while IoT technology adoption is on the rise, technology and IoT service providers have to a lot of catching up to do with unlearning the traditional ways of providing managed services and reskill to offer end-to-end IoT solutions and services for different verticals.
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