Romil Bahl is the chief executive of KORE, the global, independent Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider. He joined the company in 2017 to build on the company’s seven million global connections, which have grown to 11 million in less than two years, and to drive its growth as IoT itself continues to mature. Here, he tells IoT Now how the recent launch of KORE One, the company’s new IoT platform, brings together capabilities across seven modular engines that address next generation networks, security and enterprise and cloud applications.
IoT Now: How do you see the overall landscape of IoT changing in the next five to ten years?
Romil Bahl: As the IoT marketplace matures, businesses across industries will continue to adopt IoT solutions to achieve digital transformation, an endeavour that is leading to billions of devices and sensors being connected to the internet over the coming decade. According to most analyst estimates, some 75-80 billion connected devices are expected by 2030, and that number is staggering – it will mean seven-to-eight connected devices per human being. In this era of digital transformation, companies will increasingly utilise real-time data and analytics to derive real-time insights from commercial and industrial assets and equipment to facilitate rapid improvements in business processes and core business applications. It is critical for organisations to understand that achieving transformative business performance with IoT means truly making use of the resulting data, rather than just talking about it. I believe that data will become the most valuable resource for connected businesses during the next five years, if not sooner.
IoT will not only deliver invaluable business intelligence, though, as it is expected that a growing number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will bring new, IoTenabled products, services and applications to market to achieve competitive differentiation and generate diversified revenue streams and business models. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2023, 25% of commercial or industrial OEMs will offer IoT-connected products. These new offerings will be driven by advancements in IoT technologies such as embedded subscriber identity modules (eSIMs), which not only massively streamlines manufacturing and logistics processes for global or multinational deployments, it ensures affordable, local coverage for devices out of the box. eSIM technologies, with their power of futureproofing our customers’ IoT investments, are expected to grow exponentially in terms of adoption over the next few years.
Underpinning the growth of IoT – regardless of the use case – will be advancements in security capabilities. In order for IoT to reach its full potential, organisations must be confident their connected solutions are protected, and in turn, IoT providers will need to step their game up to deliver advanced, innovative security solutions.
IoT Now: What is KORE doing to keep up with the changing requirements of the IoT world? What is your growth strategy for the future?
RB: KORE has transitioned from almost two decades of experience as an IoT network connectivity provider to a truly global, independent, IoT solutions provider. We understand that our customers need much more than connectivity to deploy, manage and scale their IoT implementations and as such we are continuously expanding our services portfolio to deliver comprehensive, integrated solutions to help businesses streamline their vendor ecosystems, accelerate speed-to-market and maximise returns on IoT investments.
Our aggressive growth strategy is focused on delivering innovative products and services related to our foundational offering of connectivity management – including eSIM and advanced connectivity, device management, and location-based services. Further, building on my previous statement regarding our transition to an IoT solutions provider, we are now delivering a variety of professional IoT services, IoT security, data-as-aservice and data analytics. Just one example of an entirely new service is our intelligent network monitoring service, SecurityPro, which helps customers effectively monitor device activity and protect IoT connections from potential threats.
All of that said, we are proud of our connectivity management heritage and we believe we understand the IoT ecosystem better than anyone else as the only truly global independent provider. Our ‘multi-multi-multi’ value proposition of multiple devices, multiple networks and technologies, in multiple regions of the world is the foundation of our future growth. After all, without fundamental connectivity services, there is no IoT.
IoT Now: What are the key enablers of this growth strategy?
RB: Our growth strategy revolves around three key pillars: (i) we continue to provide the best combination of connectivity management, device management and location based services as we have done for almost two decades, with a constant focus on advanced connectivity including leading with eSIM technology; (ii) helping our customers deploy IoT applications with a host of services that simplify complexity and choices, and shorten time-tomarket; (iii) an increasing focus on security and data management, including analytics and fraud protection.
Just as connectivity management remains the foundation of our three-pronged growth strategy, the foundation of our connectivity management service remains a world-class platform. Our new, state-of-the art IoT platform, dubbed KORE One, is being officially launched at MWC Americas after three successful phases of implementation, and several rounds of alpha and beta testing with some of our largest customers. KORE One enables the next generation of carrier, device and cloudagnostic IoT deployments, delivering best-in-class technology, tools and services to allow innovation, business agility and speed-to-market for long-term IoT success. KORE One will be the platform from which KORE will build all new service and solution offerings, facilitating our leap into the future of IoT.
IoT Now: Tell us a little more about KORE One and its platform capabilities.
RB: KORE One is a true IoT platform comprised of seven modular technology engines that each play a unique role in facilitating the next generation of network services, security services, as well as enterprise and cloud applications. Engine functionalities include secure, universal data processing, integration and workflow capabilities to connect network providers to enterprise applications, as well as real-time billing and rating functionalities.
Through the integration of these unique engines, KORE One enables pre-provisioned connectivity for traditional SIMs, eSIMs and unlicensed spectrum options to provide total flexibility; powerful data management capabilities to harness all levels of sensor data, meta data and usage data; as well as seamless and robust application programme interface (API) integrations to improve response times, eliminate costly provisioning errors, and decrease total cost of ownership.
The microservices architecture of the KORE One platform also facilitates the individual deployment of each engine. For example, the aforementioned integration and workflow engine delivers a normalised and templatised interface to cellular carrier platforms, which is a key component for managing switchable eSIM profile provisioning and can be used in bring-your-own-carrier scenarios as a licensed software deployment. Another example would be using our network intelligence engine to understand device behaviour from network meta data.
Bottom line, we have built a platform that goes above and beyond just connectivity management. We have leap-frogged our competition with an entirely modular, API-first, IoT platform for connectivity management, security management, application enablement, and that is just what we are launching now. There is much more to come as we continue to add features, functions and services to make it easier for our customers to launch their IoT applications on our platform.
IoT Now: With the launch of KORE One, what benefits are you anticipating your customers will experience?
RB: Fundamentally, the modular foundation of KORE One has allowed us to pick modern, worldclass technologies that are the best fit for the function each engine delivers. This gives our customers the advantage of knowing that they are working with the best technology platform in the world, picking and choosing the engines and services/APIs they need, knowing that we can add features and functions at will over time, without fear of technology obsolescence or scalability issues. On this foundation, we will continue to build features and services that will significantly differentiate KORE One from most all IoT platforms in the industry, especially as we now support well over 11 million connections globally and are learning ever more every day.
We have already launched several innovative tools and services on the KORE One platform to improve our customer experience and enable customer success. The first is ConnectivityPro, our next generation connectivity management service. Replacing our legacy connectivity management platform, ConnectivityPro provides a streamlined user interface with service-oriented APIs supporting full automation of connectivity management activities, including support for our eSIM offerings. Customers also benefit from fullyfeatured provisioning, diagnostics, reporting, support, and billing; proactive monitoring in realtime to events, usage and costs with rule-based actions and alerts; as well as integrated, a la carte microservices supporting solution components that be added based on unique business requirements.
As previously referenced, the second service we’ve built on the KORE One platform is SecurityPro, an intelligent network monitoring tool that allows customers to detect changes in network behavior that may indicate a security breach has occurred at the device level. For example, the service can be configured to notify a customer when one or more of their devices is communicating with an unauthorised IP address or is sending an anomalous increase in data traffic. KORE One also lays the foundation for our dataas-a-service (DaaS) and analytics capabilities.
KORE One enables storage and analysis of a variety of different data sets in the IoT arena. This not only includes payload data but also usage and meta-data associated with the device as observed through the network. This provides KORE with the unique ability to provide valuable analytics to our customers. As an example, this would include observing meta-data as a proxy to device behavior or network traffic patterns which could enable customers to act proactively in certain situations.
In summary, the future opportunities that KORE One will bring to our customers are nearly endless, as it provides an industry-leading architecture from which enterprises can build and deploy their own unique applications and services more quickly and efficiently, and at a fraction of the cost, should they had started from scratch.
IoT Now: What are some of the KORE One elements or functionalities that differentiate KORE in the marketplace?
RB: The differentiators of KORE One can essentially be summarised in three words: open, modular, and scalable. Open API access utilising fully documented external APIs supports agnostic application enablement and rapid delivery of new applications, providing unparalleled levels of flexibility with no need to ever modify source code. Modular, micro-services architecture enables a simplistic approach to creating new solutions and services through the rapid integration of desired services, accelerating time-to-market and ensuring evolution of best-in-class technologies. Scalable, auto-elastic capability provides for a future-proofed foundation to grow, manage, and meet increased demand.
IoT Now: How do you think the launch of KORE One will continue to position KORE as the leading, global independent IoT provider?
RB: We pride ourselves at KORE in being a trusted IoT advisor that is solely focused on customer results and enabling maximised returns on IoT investments. Our commitment to our customers’ success has gotten us where we are today, and we are confident that the introduction of KORE One is the next evolution of this commitment as it further empowers organisations to simplify IoT complexities and streamline solution deployments, while ultimately providing a platform for innovation, growth and scalability.