News - 03.04.23

Time to Ditch the Dumb Pipe - Part 3

Iot Connectivity Part 3 Article


This is the third and final blog in our mini-series “Time to ditch the dumb pipe” covering the improvements we believe are necessary and possible to control mobile connectivity for IoT. There is a hidden opportunity cost incurred when we think of mobile connectivity for IoT purely as a ‘dumb pipe’ because this mindset ignores the value that can be created in the network itself. In this blog, we will share example use cases where replacing a traditional mobile connectivity solution with an intelligent, software-defined, cloud-based mobile network adds value. But before doing that, we will briefly summarise the fundamental principles explored in the previous two blogs.

Part 1 - Intelligent IoT connectivity:

In Part 1, we explored the IoT connectivity market and the challenges and complexities involved in selecting the right blend of connectivity options for IoT use cases. Different individual IoT connectivity technologies such as 4G, NB-IoT, LTE-M, LoRa and, increasingly, 5G are available from various providers. There is little differentiation between credible connectivity providers regarding their connectivity offerings – in general, providers are playing with the same set of tools from a globally organised and standardised mobile connectivity ecosystem. 

As the IoT industry matures and solutions become ever more critical to business operations and public service delivery, we believe that end customers will demand more control to manage their IoT solutions according to their particular needs. As a result, sophisticated network-level, real-time control of IoT connectivity will become increasingly important as a building block of resilient, future-proof, scalable and secure IoT solutions. In this way, the growth of software-defined mobile networking will add value and challenge the notion of mobile connectivity being just a ‘dumb pipe’.

Mass customisation

IoT customers need an IoT connectivity service tailored to their specific needs. This level of ‘mass customisation’ has been difficult for mobile operators and their MVNO partners to support. It has typically involved ‘projects’ that take time and involve high setup costs for IoT customers, resulting in many IoT innovations failing before they have even started.

IoT customers are increasingly demanding more control over the IoT connectivity service, such as real-time control over security policies. Enterprise customers want to manage devices connected over mobile networks in the same flexible, scalable ways as they do their other IT assets. In addition, IoT customers want to combine these enhanced levels of control with flexible, cloud-like commercial models - no hefty setup fees and a usage-based charging model.

Intelligent Control

Traditional approaches to connectivity management will no longer be able to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of IoT customers. Optimising IoT connectivity at scale will necessitate new approaches. As service providers, we must change the game by adding new intelligent control capabilities which empower customers to configure services according to their needs, in real-time, down to an individual SIM or IMSI level.

Time to Ditch the Dumb-Pipe

Without doubt, the evolution of the mobile telecoms industry since the 1980s has been a huge success, bringing major benefits to society on a global basis.  A foundation of this success has been the global standards framework. This has meant that (by and large) mobile devices and connectivity services are interoperable – they just work for users (whilst the underlying scale and technical complexity remains hidden). This has been a major achievement for the industry but has also created challenges.

Because the industry has done a good job of hiding the complexity of telecom technologies, users can perceive mobile connectivity to be dumb/unsophisticated. This has been compounded by the industry’s pursuit of standardisation, at the expense of innovation and flexibility. The focus has been on building near-ubiquitous, high-bandwidth, reliable and secure networks to support the large-scale deployment of relatively undifferentiated services.

So, standardised services work well globally without users understanding the complexity involved.  Meanwhile, when a service provider customer or developer wants to configure mobile connectivity in a fine-grained way because this will add value to their particular use case, this is difficult because the established technology architectures and commercial models are not geared to support it.

Get in Touch

Part 2 - Empowering customers with greater control:

In Part 2, we explored eSIM and iSIM IoT connectivity solutions and use cases. These technologies will enable continued growth and innovation in IoT connectivity.

eSIMs enable greater efficiency and flexibility

eSIMs are reprogrammable over the air, meaning that the mobile operator profile used can be changed according to customer needs. eSIMs can also play a valuable role in IoT solutions by acting as a secure device or application authentification source. By enabling enhanced connectivity and security, eSIM technology will allow IoT solution designers to build devices that better meet customer needs and will reduce the need to work around specific mobile operator-driven constraints.

iSIM is shaping a new IoT future

iSIM is pure, software only solution. Its goal is reducing inefficiencies related to device production, mobile service connection and performance in life. In addition, iSIM technology has the potential to offer a powerful solution for secure authentication and device identification at a lower cost than other methods.

Get in Touch

It’s time to democratise control of mobile connectivity:

As the IoT market matures and solution requirements become more sophisticated; we believe that IoT developers and end customers will become frustrated with the lack of control available via existing connectivity providers. With greater flexibility and control, mobile connectivity for IoT can be perfectly configured to suit the specific needs of a business and use case. If IoT developers and end customers can be offered access to greater levels of control over mobile connectivity that they will innovate, improving IoT security, privacy, resilience and value for money.

Imagine how much latent innovation will be unleashed if every IoT solution developer could apply the levels of control of mobile connectivity traditionally reserved for the mobile operators themselves.

This is our mission at stacuity - democratising the control of mobile connectivity for IoT.

The key to us achieving this will be our programmable mobile core network.

Serving future IoT connectivity needs

In the future, we believe that competitive advantage for forward-thinking IoT connectivity providers will be derived not just from the range/price of connectivity technologies they make available but from the sophistication with which those technologies are controlled. 

Our programmable core network will enable customers and developers to manage and secure IoT with unparalleled flexibility, in real-time, at the individual SIM, IMSI or application level. 

To bring this concept to life, here are some potential use cases for programmable IoT connectivity based on our market experience and customer-led conversations.

Do they resonate with you?

Get in Touch

Programmable Mobile Connectivity For IoT Use Cases:

Customer Type - IoT MVNOs:

How to enhance privacy and security?
Example challenge:

MVNO’s customers demand that their data traffic is segregated from other customers' traffic and is delivered securely and privately.

Typical Current Solution:

MVNO requests that their Mobile Operator sets-up a private/dedicated network interface (APN) for the customer.  This is time-consuming, costly and requires reconfiguration on each device.

stacuity Solution:

Virtual secure networks can be created and/or reconfigured by the MVNO and/or the customer in minutes, down to the individual SIM or IMSI level where necessary.

Customer Type - IoT MVNOs:

How to secure 'dumb' devices?
Example challenge:

As IoT sensor data passes over the Internet, it is vulnerable to interception or tampering.

Typical Current Solution:

The standard solution is to protect this data via encryption (VPN), but this is not possible where the IoT device is too 'dumb’ for VPN configuration.

stacuity Solution:

Data is secured by VPN within the stacuity network, before being sent to the customer's server. So it is secure, even if the IoT device cannot support VPN configuration.

Customer Type - IoT MVNOs:

How to set Network Operator policies by customers or SIM?
Example challenge:

MVNO’s customers require SIMs to be limited to roam in specific countries or on specific networks or to behave differently depending on their locations.

Typical Current Solution:

MVNO requests that their Mobile Operator sets up new profiles in their core network to support the customer.  This can be time-consuming, costly and inflexible.

stacuity Solution:

Customers have real-time visibility and control of the networks that their SIMs roam onto, based on their chosen parameters.

Customer Type - Retail POS Terminal Provider:

How to secure POS terminals in the network?
Example challenge:

POS terminal provider must maintain secure connectivity to their large estate of payment processing devices, in the field.

Typical Current Solution:

Configuration of the POS terminal devices is tightly controlled at the point of provisioning. However, this setup process is error-prone.  Plus it is very difficult to change configuration once devices have been deployed.

stacuity Solution:

Security policies are controlled by the POS terminal provider themselves, in the stacuity network – real-time control, down to an individual SIM or device level, if required.

Customer Type - Telecare Solution Provider:

How to confirm device reachability in the network?
Example challenge:

Monitoring devices can lose their ability to send critical alarm messages and/or receive critical response calls (for example, due to a fault or power outage), without the solution provider being aware.  This means that life or death alerts or calls can be missed.

Typical Current Solution:

Solution Provider creates processes to regularly ping devices and monitor the responses.  Responses outside agreed SLAs are escalated via alerts for management attention.

stacuity Solution:

The stacuity network is programmed to monitor the reachability of devices, meaning that the Solution Provider can avoid the cost and complexity of operating a separate monitoring platform.

Customer Type - Tracking Solution Provider:

How to create a single view of solution performance?
Example challenge:

Tracking Solution Provider wants to deliver an integrated analytics experience to their customers via a 'single pane of glass' - combining tracking sensor and mobile connectivity data to create an integrated picture of performance.

Typical Current Solution:

Currently forced to control their service via two siloed platforms - tracking data (from their system) and mobile connectivity (from their provider’s portal).  Combining data from these two sources creates complexity and additional work/cost.

stacuity Solution:

All connectivity functionality can be controlled directly by the customer's development team, via a comprehensive API.  This enables tight integration of connectivity into their application and avoids the cost/complexity of coordinating their activities across multiple platforms.

Customer Type - Challenger Mobile Operator:

How to create a truly seamless connectivity service?
Example challenge:

Mobile Operators operate eSIM solutions, so that their customers can easily switch between connectivity profiles (IMSIs), according to cost, service quality or regulatory requirements.

Typical Current Solution:

Customers must perform complex and error-prone reconfiguration each time a new profile is activated in the eSIM.

stacuity Solution:

The stacuity network aggregates the connectivity from multiple upstream mobile operators, creating a single consistent service for downstream customers, regardless of which IMSI is selected.

Customer Type - Challenger Mobile Operator:

How to minimise the risk and impact of network congestion?
Example challenge:

IoT devices (e.g. air quality monitors, fuel tank sensors) are often configured to report data to a back-end application for analysis purposes.  When there is an outage of the back-end application or connectivity, the devices cannot register their readings.  As they retry repeatedly, network congestion can escalate rapidly causing disruption, lost data and downtime.

Typical Current Solution:

The Mobile Operator, working with its customers, needs to manually deescalate the congestion issue by taking devices off-line and then carefully, progressively reintroducing them.  This is time-intensive and error-prone work.  Depending on the capabilities of the devices, valuable sensor data may be lost in the resulting downtime.

stacuity Solution:

The stacuity network can accept data readings from IoT devices.  As the reading has been accepted, the device does not continue to try to send it.  These readings can then be stored within the network and delivered to the back-end application when it becomes available.  The risk and cost of congestion, disruption and data loss are minimised.


The IoT market continues to have significant potential for growth. In the early days of IoT, cost and coverage concerns were paramount. Now that the IoT market is maturing, the intelligent control of connectivity will begin to demonstrate its value by enabling more resilient, scalable and secure IoT solutions.

Our three-part IoT Connectivity blog series (“Time to Ditch the Dumb-Pipe”) has explored the improvements we believe are possible to controlling mobile connectivity for IoT. Such improvements will become essential as IoT becomes increasingly central to business and public services operations.

In the future, competitive advantage for customers (and forward-thinking connectivity providers) will not come from access to the wholesale pricing of undifferentiated connectivity technologies but instead from the sophistication with which these technologies are controlled.

Intelligent IoT connectivity empowers customers with fine-grained, powerful control over IoT connectivity in real-time at the individual device level. This is the path to leveraging the true power of mobile connectivity technologies to enhance the value of IoT solutions.

It is indeed time to ditch the dumb pipe!

Get in Touch

How can stacuity help you?

We’re on a mission to help IoT MVNOs, IoT Aggregators, Systems Integrators, challenger Mobile Operators and IoT developers by empowering them with fine-grained control of mobile connectivity.

Programmable Mobile Core Network-As-A-Service

Our programmable mobile core network for IoT contains a revolutionary set of telecom technologies to enable IoT developers and end customers to have more precise and intelligent control of mobile connectivity.

By offering this network to our customers as-a-service, regardless of their size, we will democratise the control of mobile connectivity for IoT. Customers and individual developers will be able to configure mobile connectivity, according to their bespoke requirements, with unprecedented levels of precision, control and flexibility.

Pre-order Your Programmable SIM

Our first programmable SIM cards for IoT will be ready very soon. If you would like to try one:

Order a Trial SIM

Related content