Good connexions: IoT connectivity doesn’t need to be complicated
Richard Hart is Head of Connectivity at Quectel Wireless Solutions where he has established the company’s Connectivity-as-a-Service offering to simplify procurement for IoT service providers and enable companies to buy modules, antennas and IoT connectivity services from a single supplier. For the former Vodafone executive and mobile operator industry veteran, it’s a refreshing change to be a large buyer of connectivity on behalf of customers rather than a capacity vendor.
It’s certainly interesting to be on the other side of the table, and I think it helps Quectel and the networks because I see it from both sides and approach the relationship with the networks as a collaboration. So, I understand why they behave in the ways that they do, and that helps move the relationship on, and keep it grounded in the realities. Having said that, it can still be frustrating at times because some of the network operators or their partners are just too rigid in their approaches. They’re not necessarily customer-focused, and that can be detrimental to the relationship.
In contrast, our starting point is always the customer, and we look at the world through their eyes. We understand what the network operators can and cannot deliver, so we look to provide solutions to customers that bridge those gaps but it all starts with what the customer is actually looking for. We bring our telecoms knowledge to help because it’s another piece of the puzzle to support customers in reducing their challenges in bringing solutions to market.
The missing link in IoT connectivity
For us, it’s not just about bridging small gaps, it’s about providing the missing part of the total solution. So previously, Quectel’s involvement stopped when the customer solution was produced, but now we continue that into the life of the product to complete the lifecycle. The solution goes out into the wild and previously there could have been issues with the product, which potentially meant conflict between the module provider and the network provider.
Now, though if you come to us as a customer of IoT modules, antennas and connectivity services, we will own the issue and resolve it. Customers absolutely understand the value of this. The best example I can give is where we have provided the connectivity and it’s not working as expected. So, as an organization we work collectively with the customer – that means tech support on both the module and the connectivity. Sometimes, it’s a really simple issue such as a configuration problem but sometimes it’s harder to resolve.
Quectel is now a total solution provider
The important thing is that with Quectel, you have a single point of contact. Our technical team on the connectivity side has deep networking knowledge and that aligns with the module and antenna experts. There will always be challenges but the important thing is how you overcome them. I think the fact we behave as a ‘total solution provider’ is fundamentally important and exactly what customers want. It’s not about pointing fingers, because that doesn’t help anyone – and the customer sits squarely in the middle of the problem. It’s about saying “yes, there’s a problem, and here is the solution.”
IoT connectivity does not have to be difficult or complicated, it’s a proven technology. Yes, there will be ups and downs and network outages etc., but actually most issues can be fixed quickly. Because we can now offer modules, antennas and IoT connectivity services and behave as one organization, I think we have a great opportunity. Not just for Quectel, but for our customers to experience how simple IoT connectivity can be.