Telstra’s recent AUS$100 million deal with utility meter and data solutions company, Intellihub, highlights one of the many roles that IoT can play in increasing energy efficiency.
Telstra's AUS$100 million IoT deal points to IoT sustainability role
Telstra’s recent AUS$100 million deal with utility meter and data solutions company, Intellihub, highlights one of the many roles that IoT can play in increasing energy efficiency, as well as how the Australian operator is transforming its business. The deal, to provide up to 4.1 million cellular IoT SIMs for smart meters over 10 years, means the operator’s business unit, Telstra Energy, will use Intellihub’s IoT networks for smart metering and data insights. Telstra, which applied for energy licenses in 2021, this year plans to launch energy products in Australia, initially targeting its own customers. It intends to integrate energy services with the MyTelstra mobile and broadband app, with the aim of becoming one of Australia’s top five energy retailers by 2025, with renewable energy making up 100% of its consumption. According to Intellihub, energy systems worldwide will increasingly use virtual power plant software to orchestrate distributed renewable energy flowing in multiple directions between customers and the grid. And if they are to efficiently manage network performance, electricity companies will need to be able to access, process, analyze and use near real-time energy data from smart meters. All of which must sound very familiar to communications service providers (CSPs). But there are multiple ways in which CSPs – and their enterprise customers – are using data gathered by IoT systems to better understand and manage the energy efficiency and environmental management of their operations. During TM Forum’s recent webinar Hard Talk: IoT – a force for environmental good, Sunil David, Regional Director IoT India and ASEAN, at AT&T, described how the US operator has saved around $600 million since 2012 by equipping more than 2,000 of its buildings across the US with 1.8 billion sensors to manage air conditioning and heating systems. AT&T also aims to generate carbon savings for its customers that are 10 times the size of its operation’s carbon footprint by 2025. “Pressure is coming from the customers; they want solutions that are sustainable,” said David. Governments are also increasingly looking to IoT solutions as a means to manage the environment, according to, Fuencisla Merino, Assistant Director IoT, enterprise 5G and Big Data, Ooredoo Group.
One of the sectors currently prioritizing IoT investment is manufacturing. A recent survey by Omdia shows that manufacturers consider enterprise IoT to be the top enabling technology for their digital strategies for the next 18 months, ahead of technology platforms, 5G/Edge, data lakes and agile/DevOps tools (see chart). Elisa, which provides data analytics-based IoT solutions to manufacturers and has more than 1,000 manufacturing customers worldwide, says sustainability is a considerable selling point. Manufacturers are “very into sustainability”, says Henri Korpi, EVP, International Digital Services, Elisa. “Obviously they are looking at the financial benefits [of IoT and Industry 4.0], but one of the driving forces is the greenness,” says Korpi, driven in part by stakeholder concerns. “They are looking at solution providers to help them streamline processes and get rid of the excess use of materials, for example,” he adds. Sustained IoT growth could create new opportunities for CSPs that can help enterprises marry greater efficiency and cost savings with sustainability. Berg Insight, which tracks IoT usage, calculates that the 500 largest cellular IoT deployments currently represent 418.5 million active cellular IoT connections and estimates this figure will grow to 842 million units by 2025.