©2020 by floLIVE Ltd.

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  • Curtis Govan

The Guiding Lesson

In May of 2007, I embarked on the greatest journey of my career, joining Jasper Technologies. For almost 13 years, I was fortunate to work with an all-star collection of professionals that were brilliant, a joy to be around, and incredibly passionate about building the best “Automated IoT Connectivity Management Platform” in the world. By all standards, especially Silicon Valley startup standards, we were successful achieving the pinnacle startup status of unicorn and getting acquired in March of 2016, for $1.4B.

The greatest lesson from my time with Jasper is there are many problems for companies to solve, but what overshadows the difficulties and makes the successes sweeter are the people with whom you share the journey. In my search for a new venture, this lesson was my main guide.

As a result, on February 17th, I began a new journey with floLIVE as President – North America.   Already I feel the warmth and passion of the people and see their technical knowledge and strength in the floLIVE products. Additionally, floLIVE is backed by strong investors, including 83North, Saban Ventures, Qualcomm, and Dell.  The company recently raised $21.5M in their Series B round of funding.

Finding a needle in a haystack

With the exponential growth of the IoT industry over the last decade and the large number of solutions and solution providers, I began my search not expecting to find a company with a unique value proposition. Through a trusted friend, I found floLIVE, a needle in the IoT haystack.

Why is floLIVE special?

floLIVE was founded in January of 2015 and is a privately held company.  By definition, it’s a startup; however, the floLIVE Global IoT management suite is a mature, fully-integrated, cloud-native solution providing multi-layered security and extensive global coverage. The solution is comprised of four key elements: Core Network, Device Management, Billing & CRM and SIM management.

These solutions were independently built over the last 15 years and have been tried and tested by dozens of demanding customers with mission critical needs. Now, they are fully integrated to create the industry’s most comprehensive global IoT management suite.

Efficiency and Service are core to IoT

Having worked together for 15+ years, the floLIVE founders have built multiple successful telecom solution startups. When they decided to get into the IoT space, they an amazing market opportunity, but the current supporting solutions were highly disparate making it difficult for customers to easily achieve their desired objectives.

As the founders looked to solve this problem, they used the same approach that led to their previous successes; that is, they approached IoT from an end-customer perspective and worked backwards from there, concluding that the Internet of Things is about two core things - efficiency and service. Companies are trying to improve efficiency throughout their business and/or grow their revenue base by extending or adding new services.

This perspective led to the fully-integrated floLIVE Global IoT Management

Suite; designed specifically for optimal business efficiency and to support an array of existing and new services and business models. The floLIVE Global IoT Suite makes IoT easy for enterprises, MNOs, MVNOs, IoT Solution Providers, IoT Cloud Providers, multi-MNO domestic deployments, multi-national deployments, remote area deployments, etc.

I’m thrilled to join the floLIVE team and look forward to helping our customers grow their respective businesses.

And so, the journey begins…

Do you need help with your next IoT project? Let’s talk.

Curtis Govan, President – North America

Think ahead, as little as two or three years into the future. Can you imagine a world where car manufacturers aren’t tracking KPIs remotely for their vehicles? Can you envisage a situation where shipping companies aren’t using smart monitoring to keep track of metrics such as temperature, humidity and location in real-time? In fact, can you think of any forward-thinking industry that won’t be able to address a pressing challenge with the help of IoT technology?

Me neither. But it wasn’t always clear to me how we were going to get there.

From 2015-2019, I was the GM of AT&T Israel, running the entire operation with hundreds of people, as well as hundreds more in development roles in the US. My eye was always on the future, on the growth areas that would revolutionize the world that we live in.

It was obvious to me that IoT was a huge growth area, but at the same time, it was equally clear that there were a lot of challenges. I became familiar with these challenges, and I could see these issues slowing IoT adoption more broadly across the industry.

If I was going to make a career change, I wanted my new role to be at the forefront of tomorrow’s IoT-enabled world

Considering my options, I had a number of opportunities available to me in the market. IoT drew my attention, but I was particularly interested in finding an organization that already had a keen awareness of the challenges the IoT industry was facing, and preferably one that was already addressing some of them. These included:

  • Complex execution: IoT isn’t like writing down a piece of software and putting it on the cloud. IoT is a delicate orchestration of different solution layers, from the physical chip and the device itself, through to the application layer, the data layer, connectivity, and beyond. Each of these alone is complicated enough, and together there is bound to be some friction. Organizations are under-estimating the importance of ensuring that all of these elements play nicely together.

  • The need for flexibility: IoT is not the same beast as mobile. As mobile subscribers, all users pretty much behave the same way. In contrast, each use case for IoT can be totally different, from the physical device itself, down to requirements and behaviours. The flexibility of an IoT connectivity solution is paramount.

  • Seamless global connectivity: Again, unlike mobile, where roaming agreements for limited amounts of time are generally sufficient, IoT devices are built to go all over the world. They are often produced in one country and then sent to another or remain location agnostic with no such place as home. The need for global availability needs to go hand in hand with the flexibility of the solution.

  • Security and compliance: A global solution needs to have in-built knowledge of all the privacy and compliance guidelines in each country, as well as visibility into every layer of the technology stack, from the chip and device itself, through to how it communicates and interacts with on-premises servers and the cloud.

Creating an IoT solution that is flexible enough for the use case, global enough for the technology, and secure enough for the users – that’s no easy task, which leads to two more challenges.

  • Insufficient planning: With so many layers and elements to consider, planning is a step in and of itself. Some organizations forget to think about compliance and data privacy, or the security of their devices in the field for example. These challenges can be stumbled across later in the IoT journey and bring the whole project crashing down.

  • A lack of ROI: As a result of a mixture of these challenges, IoT growth has been slower than anticipated. Businesses are putting money into projects that are yet to see strong returns. This is to be expected with any maturing industry. As IoT evolves, the balance between investment and return will change, driving new IoT projects and success stories.

  • If you’re wondering how we’re going to make that leap happen, you’re where I was in late 2019.

A bright vision for the future

Enter floLIVE. Immediately, I saw that this company had a unique vision for the future of IoT connectivity, the expertise to solve existing challenges, and that they were passionate about enabling a strong future in the connectivity space.

But that vision and understanding of the industry was only step one for me. What really convinced me was an important asset that many companies lack. floLIVE owned almost the entire technology stack inside its solution, rather than relying on an aggregation of third-party solutions. I knew that if we wanted to serve customers in the best way, not just offering a unique solution, but one that is global, secure, flexible and compliant, we needed to have it all. The mobile core network, the connectivity management platform, the SIM technology, the BSS elements– it was all there.

Together, floLIVE had a unique vision to address what I already knew were real-life challenges in the market, alongside a vast amount of the technology to make it happen. Add to this, a strong list of investors that included 83North, Saban Ventures, Qualcomm and Dell, plus an impressive team put together by founders with a great track record for building successful technology companies, and it’s easy to see what my motivation was for jumping aboard.

Looking ahead: Predictions for the IoT industry

When I look forward a few years in the industry, I can see that organizations that don’t see IoT as a true business benefit are going to be left behind.

To get a piece of the pie, IoT connectivity solutions will need to be ready for:

  • More use cases: I see more IoT use cases coming to market, and with that – more need for connecting devices to the internet and the cloud. Speaking to various key players in the market, from chip manufacturers or device manufacturers, through to IoT service providers and mobile network operators, they all might have different goals or considerations, but the industries are all maturing, showing that while IoT might have had a slow start, it’s gearing up for a bright future.

  • More flexibility: To make this happen, floLIVE is focused on both new functionality and more flexible device management. Industries will have different needs, and whether that’s deploying on-premises, as-a-service, via a private network or a hybrid solution on the cloud or on containers, we want to be able to say yes. Our vision is to allow any company that wants to have a global IoT solution to be able to execute this successfully.

  • The emergence of 5G: We also have our focus on the emergence of 5G, which is going to be a key element of growing IoT globally, due to faster speeds and better reliability. Eventually, we hope to deliver a 5G global network, so we’re working intensely to make that happen, at the same time as supporting our existing customers.

I am so excited to be coming to floLIVE at this stage of IoT adoption, where there is a real opportunity in the market, and I have an enthusiastic team who are excited to deliver it. The people at floLIVE have built incredible technology so far that is very attuned to the industry challenges, and yet their passion for the market, and their will to succeed is far from slowing down. In fact, their motivation feels like day one – carving a critical space for floLIVE in the inevitable IoT-enabled future.

Are you currently adding IoT projects to your roadmap? Let’s connect.

Updated: Mar 12

Business Insider predicts that there will be more than 64 billion connected devices by 2025. Organizations that don’t have a global connectivity solution in place need to think fast.

Cellular-connected IoT devices may seem like a smart way to get fast connectivity, leveraging the same technology that gives us mobile freedom. But IoT devices are not mobile phones. They have their own considerations and challenges, and need a purpose-built security solution, or they will never break the connectivity barrier for global enterprises.

Go Big or Go Roam

IoT devices are jetsetters by nature. They are often manufactured in one country, before being sent to another - perhaps even multiple locations during a devices lifespan. For IoT to be successful, they need to have connectivity no matter where they reside, or where they’re heading.

Nowadays when you book your vacation, you check the mobile coverage at the same time as you note down your check-in time to the hotel. No-one wants to be without connectivity. But how long is your trip? A week or two? In fact, anywhere between 1 and 3 months is usually covered by your mobile provider when you’re using roaming services abroad. After that, you’ll find that your provider expects the device to return to its home location. Your mom is probably wondering where you are, too.

Combine these restrictions with the expensive nature of international data roaming in the first place, and you’re looking at a connectivity landscape that’s just not viable when it comes to long-term IoT solutions.

Privacy is One Buzzword You Don’t Want to Ignore

Here’s a similarity between mobile phones and IoT devices – they both handle the sensitive personal data of their users. But while mobile phones usually stay put in the country of their users, under one service provider, the same can’t be said for IoT. This means that roaming SIMs, or multiple operator solutions are much harder to keep compliant. Let’s take just one regulatory authority for example – GDPR.

Straight off, unless your service provider has managed to jump through a whole lot of hoops, data originating from an EU device needs to remain the in the EU. Roaming SIMs that do not keep to all the GDPR requirements are in violation. But using multiple service providers is also not a sustainable option for data privacy. Consumers in the EU have certain rights over their data, such as the right to access the data held about them, the right to portability, and the right to erasure. How can this be managed in a transparent way, to allow for business optimization but still remain compliant?

IoT and Mobile are Distant Cousins, not Twins

Mobile operators have a very rigid way of doing things, and can rely on stiff processes because ultimately, most mobile phones are the same. We know, your iPhone X seems worlds apart from the neighbor’s Samsung, but we promise you – they’re basically the same thing. All mobile phones have a display for example – which makes it easier for the user to obtain information about any issues with connectivity or security. IoT devices don’t promise the same capability. Service operators need to be able to handle troubleshooting and maintenance on devices that cover anything from M2M in factories, to a connected fridge, a smart city traffic light or an irrigation sensor on a remote farm.

Now consider this on the scale of IoT. While users will (generally speaking) have one mobile phone, or maybe one SIM or device for personal use, and one for work – an enterprise might legitimately have millions of IoT devices. According to McKinsey, 127 new devices are connecting to the Internet every single second. That’s more than 30,000 in the time it takes to read this article.

Let’s drive this home with one more important difference. IoT is simply more important in a lot of use cases. Think medical devices, healthcare equipment, M2M connectivity in industrial plants and thousands more IoT projects that are currently working around the globe. Enterprises need 24/7 visibility, connectivity and support, or there could be a real and measurable impact on human safety. Mobile phones are important, but we think you could probably crush that candy from your PC if the worst happened.

Securely Handling the Complexity of IoT

Because of all these reasons and more, security needs to be front and center of any IoT initiative. The last thing you want to do is hand over your visibility and control to a third-party service provider, or local carrier systems through roaming agreements. This will directly impinge on your ability to detect and stop a cyber attack against your customers, data and devices. You need to have eyes on your data, and in fact, your end-to-end systems, at all times.

floLIVE is a complete system for handling IoT and M2M connectivity, no matter where your devices are in the world. Manage your entire IoT operation from a single console in the cloud, including CRM, Billing, BSS, and remote SIM provisioning.

To address the limitations of mobile connectivity, floLIVE uses a unique Core Network functionality, with more than 200 locations around the globe – all hosting a local IMSI range. This means no roaming, and therefore no roaming restrictions or compliance headaches. We use smart networking solutions such as autonomous switching and network slicing to cover a limitless amount of IoT use cases, all with seamless connectivity and zero gaps. Not to brag, but we’re kind of the best in the business at what we do.