The internet of things is already a billion dollar business for Verizon, and the company is training thousands of sales people in its Verizon Enterprise Solutions group to think about IoT opportunities for their customers. The best targets include companies with mobile workforces and high-value assets, and some of these companies may already be connecting assets to Verizon’s network. Once a company starts to think in terms of connected assets, Verizon presents the opportunity to integrate workflow.
“We try to look at the customer as much as possible through the business process lens … part of that, of course, is workflow integration,” said Mark Bartolomeo, the Verizon VP who oversees sales of IoT solutions for business. “An example of that would be how we work with utilities. Electric, gas and water utilities all have very large fleets and those fleets are there to insure they are improving the customer experience by being dispatched in the case of leaks or power outages, and at the same time our IoT products are monitoring things like smart grid performance and water pipelines … so we see real value in integrating the workflow associated with work order management.” A problem on the grid is often the trigger for a truck roll, so Verizon encourages its utility customers to sign on for fleet management services.
Fleet management is a cornerstone of Verizon’s IoT business. The company purchased Fleetmatics for $2.4 billion and bought Telogis for an undisclosed sum said to be just shy of $1 billion. The transportation and shipping industry is poised for growth as more and more transactions take place online, and Verizon sees an opportunity to connect not just the vehicles, but the cargo inside them.
“When we look at our IoT products, one of the things that we’re looking at right now is how do we take our IoT solutions and make them an extension of the vehicle,” said Bartolomeo. “A real simple example is the integration of asset tracking with fleet management. If you have a truck, obviously many of those fleets are transporting equipment, so we want to give them the capability to be able to track … high-value assets.”
Bartolomeo said those assets could be equipment or tools, or they could be cargo that needs to be tracked and monitored. He said Verizon is already monitoring variables like temperature, vibration and light for customers who transport perishable food and vaccines.
According to Machina Research, now a part of Gartner, roughly 250,000 of the 500,000 global cellular IoT connections are within vehicles. By 2025, the firm foresees the number of cellular IoT connections approaching 2 million, and vehicular connections will still be the largest category, with roughly 800,000 nodes.