We all are in the same boat: the pandemic is everyone’s adversary, and it will take some time before roaming traffic will return to pre-C19 levels. By then, Milja Hofman argued, the world will definitely have changed. While most of us are avidly looking forward to vaccination, operators keep securing their networks, and focus on new revenue streams. LTE-M and NB-IoT are both good connectivity options for industries that take advantage of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology. LTE-M supports all LPWA applications while NB-IoT is made for plain static sensor applications. Healthcare, remote working and supply chains will almost double the after-pandemic projections of M2M Roaming connections. Milja gave an insight into her new training on “M2M Roaming” and explained the challenge for operators to draw up business models that reward even low traffic usage. As these are occupying space in network elements (VLR / SGSN / SGW), they cannot become a burden on the network. Instead, high volume M2M services must be developed, separate M2M IOT must be negotiated, and M2M devices that use the network without generating revenues must be blocked eventually. Having discussed the features of Cellular IoT (LTE-M and NB-IoT), the roaming agreement and M2M business opportunities, Milja lead over to Graeme who delved into M-IoT network security.
Since not every application that should be secured can bear additional costs, Graeme Coffey presented an example that requires additional security otherwise individuals, critical infrastructure or even national security could be damaged. A shipping/cargo company using an M2M application to track the delivery vehicle’s location carries high-value cargo such as C19 vaccine. It quickly becomes clear that in case of an attack (for example by call service manipulation, denial of service, location tracking), M2M and IoT applications are only as safe as the network they are using, and user data encryption will not protect the device. Graeme argued that M2M and IoT service design and optimisation should not only be driven by coverage, technical design and commercial considerations alone. Connectivity with a network security managed firewall, and even better: connectivity with network security and threat alerts in case of shipping national critical cargo can literally save lives. All scenarios where services have a high value or cost of failure increase the value of security. Having access to real-time security intelligence is key.