IoT: Vodafone Idea wants to become techco, not just telco

Vi wants to be a total integrated solutions provider in IoT

Vi Business, the enterprise arm of Vodafone Idea Ltd. (VIL), said it has taken a crucial step towards turning itself into a techco from being a telco for its enterprise customers.

It has become only telecom company in India to offer a secure end-to-end IoT solution offering that comprises connectivity, hardware, network, application, analytics, security and support.

The announcement comes a day after Bharti Airtel issued a brief statement announcing that it too has an IoT offering for enterprises. However, Vodafone Idea’s statement seemed was more elaborate, and the telco has been working on this product for several months.

IoT refers to internet of things, a reference to machine-to-machine communication via the Internet.

Typically, most of the communication on the internet is human to human or human to machine, such as when two people do a video conferencing, or a person watches a video on Youtube.

However, with the proliferation of ‘smart’ or artificially intelligent devices such as refrigerators, intruder detection system, smart electricity meters, network connected industrial robots and so on, more and more communication exchanges are taking place between machines, with no human involvement.

Wireless operators like Vi and Airtel are keen to tap into this market, given that many of these machines are situated in places where wired connectivity is too costly or plain impossible — such as in the middle of the road.

These operators believe that machines will be generating most of their traffic in coming years, and are trying to bring as many of these machines as possible on their network.


Vodafone Idea said it will not only offer connectivity, but also analytics and applications.

“With the pandemic induced digital disruption, businesses are increasingly transforming to digital means, opting for Internet of Things (IoT) to bridge the need gap, adapt to market dynamics, and the evolving consumer needs.
Vi IoT is transforming the way businesses operate by reinventing processes, operations, customer experience and developing newer business models and revenue opportunities,” it said.

In its announcement yesterday, Bharti Airtel too said it is offering a “flexible set of APls [application programming interfaces or protocols for machines to talk to each other] to eliminate cumbersome integration journeys and allows enterprises to stream the process of connecting, collecting, and analysing data through their existing workflow tools.”

However, going by the description, Vi seems to have developed a fuller set of tools involving analytics and applications, despite the fact that most current clients of IoT services typically have their own analytics and application capabilities inhouse.

Nevertheless, Vi seems to be positioning itself as a complete solutions provider, and not just a communication or link provider like Airtel.

Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea said he wants to make Vi Business no less than an IoT ecosystem integrator for Indian enterprises. Currently such roles are played by firms like TCS, Infosys and Tech Mahindra.

Takkar said he wants to convert Vi from a Telco to a TechCo, at least as far as enterprise clients are concerned.

In other words, Vi is also targeting technology-naive clients who may want an end-to-end solution from a single provider. “Recognising the challenges faced by enterprises in conceptualizing, designing and deploying IoT as a strategic driver, with Vi Integrated IoT solutions, the telco will adopt a consulting-led engagement to support businesses in identifying their needs, design and develop the right IoT solution and implementation. It will also provide them with a tailored solution to be integrated with best-in-class enterprise-grade IoT framework,” the company said.

“With Vi Integrated IoT Solutions, an enterprise can now focus on its core strength, thus simplifying and accelerating IoT Innovation,” it added.

Vi said it has developed such readymade IoT solutions across Industries to manage their infrastructure and mobility requirements, as well as offering support for smart utilities.

Under the Vi Integrated IoT Solutions portfolio, said the company, its Smart Infrastructure IoT solutions will connect intelligently with assets like heterogeneous machines, energy systems and range of applications like ERP, factory applications for industries.

Similarly, the Smart Mobility IoT solutions will offer automotive OEMs, logistics and associated industries with connected vehicle and fleet management solutions which is based on real-time vehicle and environmental parameters.

With the Smart Utility IoT solutions, Vi Business will empower utility companies and DISCOMs to remotely monitor the performance of the transformers and other energy consuming machines or provide an integrated system of smart meters (Advanced Meter Reading, Advanced Metering Infrastructure) for improved customer experiences.

Vi Business also launched an IoT Insights report “Vi IoT Self Scan: Framework for accessing IoT maturity” based on its learnings of working closely with the manufacturing companies.

According to the report, manufacturing companies recognize the business need to build a connected factory ecosystem. Most companies wish to automate their plant operations with IoT in the next few years. IoT Self Scan Report identifies other reasons like production monitoring, planning and scheduling, quality and compliance and process optimization as triggers for manufacturing companies to adopt IoT.