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The Internet Of Things Or Internet Of Dollars?

I’ll be meeting next week with carriers at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week to discuss a range of topics including stepped-up subscription-price competition, the rollout of new technologies and bands to accelerate data speeds, and future new services such as LTE Broadcast, which will turn smartphones into TVs.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will also play a major role at the show and in my discussions. And the key reason is that, for carriers, the IoT represents a new revenue stream in a mature cellphone market whose penetration has just about topped out.

The IoT includes LTE-equipped tablets that carriers are promoting aggressively, kid-tracking wrist-worn wearable devices, and home-automation systems that drive up consumers’ data usage because they’re controlled from smartphones when consumers are away from the house.

And, of course, there are car telematics systems that use cellular, and now 4G LTE, for cellular-based stolen-vehicle tracking and recovery, roadside assistance, 24/7 emergency support, remote diagnostics, remote starting and system monitoring from a smartphone, and personalized Internet radio streaming services, including on-demand service.

In their stores, carriers are aggressively promoting the IoT, as well as CE products such as Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth speakers and smartphone-connected wearables. Said Domenico D’Ambrosio, executive director of national retail operations at Verizon Wireless, “We are transforming the focus of our stores from selling devices to enabling customers to discover all that wireless technology can do for their mobile lifestyles.

“All of our stores showcase our 4G LTE network and the various ways that wireless technology over our network can help customers do more, based on their lifestyle needs, preferences and desires. It makes life easier and more fun. And from the business side, people can work smarter.”

For more on how carrier stores are merchandising the IoT and mobile CE, see the Sept. 15 issue of TWICE.