It wasn’t difficult to identify 12 billing vendors to talk about Internet of Things (IoT) billing. And, in general, they all agreed that IoT presents certain common requirements that need to be addressed for billing, including:
- Complex value chains
- Innovative services
- Rapid partner on-boarding
- Multiple business models
- High volumes of micro transactions
- White labeling and embedded products
- Multiple types of customer interactions
But billing for IoT is hardly static. For instance, some of the areas that likely will be developed in the coming two years for IoT include:
- Industrial services, such as preventive maintenance, cost savings and Industry 4.0 initiatives
- Services around connected cars, including usage-based insurance, and entertainment services pushed by the automotive industry
- Smart Energy and Smart Home services, including home security
While there are many IoT-based startups, more companies coming into the IoT marketplace are interested in adding recurring-revenue services to their previous, more traditional transaction-based offerings. Communications service providers must be prepared to accommodate these customers with billing needs that are likely more complex and multifaceted, as a result of the need to support legacy products and services.
These are just some of the findings of the new Heavy Reading report "Billing Vendors Vary in Reactions, Solutions to IoT." This report examines the IoT billing market, utilizing data collected from 12 IoT billing providers. The report analyzes how IoT is impacting billing and billing solution trends, discusses drivers and challenges in the industry, and offers a comparative analysis of available IoT billing solutions. Looking forward, the report also details trends that are likely to occur in the industry over the next 18-24 months.
IoT is an exciting but still nascent industry, and despite significant investment from a range of heavy hitters, it remains to be seen just how warmly consumers will receive the first generation of IoT offerings. Billing providers that aggressively pursue the market at the expense of other verticals may suffer if these pioneering products fail to find large-scale adoption among customers. But providers that play the wait-and-see game risk losing ground to more daring competitors.
The successful rollout of IoT products requires quality billing support, but billing is only part of the puzzle. Once the product is on sale, the vendor must also be able to recognize revenue from it. This may be more complex than companies anticipate. In the U.S. in particular, accounting is in the midst of a genuinely seismic shift, as a combination of new revenue standards and more aggressive regulatory enforcement drives many businesses to reexamine their accounting systems and controls.
As IoT gathers steam, it is highly likely that there will be further regulations aimed specifically at this industry. How billing products integrate with revenue-recognition solutions, and how they support security and regulatory requirements, will likely be prime concerns for customers.
— Denise Culver, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading