Vancouver-based Telus Corp. is launching an Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace that will open up featuring 38 different solutions the telco and its partners can offer, it announced Wednesday.
Previously Telus marketed several different IoT solutions under its machine-to-machine or M2M offerings banner. There are 34 new solutions organized under the new IoT marketplace, according to Greg Stark, senior product manager, Telus Corp. For each solution, a customer that chooses to implement it can simply add the cost to their monthly bill.
“What we’ve found is when we pull solutions into integrated packaging, its more humanizing and its easier for customer to understand,” Stark says. “Its’ really about simplifying the experience and making it easy to deploy.”
The web marketplace offers solutions across several industries including transportation, oil and gas, retail, restaurant, construction, and public safety. While customers can’t actually buy the solutions on the website, they can contact a representative to start a discussion down that path. IoT solutions require a more customized touch, Stark explains.
While the Internet of Things phrase has been tossed around a lot – mainly by tech vendors and analysts – it might seem like an ambiguous concept to most businesses. Telus commissioned an IDC study earlier this year that found just 13 per cent of Canadian businesses would deploy an IoT solution by the end of 2014. Perhaps the problem is that few understand what applications IoT could have for their business.
“We’ve been trying to curate all the elements of the solutions together for the customer,” says Stephen Eyre, director of the IoT partner eco-system. “We will support the winners and when appropriate help those are struggling to turn a profit.”
Examples of introductory solutions include SafeFood, which monitors many aspects of a kitchen that are a requirement to avoid harmful bacteria forming on food to be served to customers. Combined with real-time monitoring software, sensors that track temperature, humidity, and other aspects can be used to help restaurants demonstrate compliance with health regulations.
Another solution, Retail Store Traffic Pattern Analysis and Security uses video analysis of a store environment to map customer flow. So retailers can adjust where they put inventory based on where customers are likely to linger.
“Imagine the iPhone without the App Store. It’d be totally fragmented. You’d have to go all over the place to find your apps,” Stark says. “That’s the Internet of Things market today.”
Telus is trying to bring all the integration together with its new web portal, he adds. The site is slated to go live on Wednesday.
Telus is continuing to add more partners with IoT solutions to the marketplace. It is taking applications to be featured, but partners must already have a solution with customers to be considered.