IoT Podcast Logo

In S2 episode 16, Rachit Saksena – Head IoT Portfolio Management at Telia unveils how Telia is solving the crucial challenges of Global IoT connectivity, what technologies are shaping a new era of Global IoT and how Telia is enabling a new approach.

Sit back, relax, tune in and be the first to discover…

  • Rachit’s background in IoT 🌎
  • What are the crucial challenges of Global IoT connectivity? 🌎
  • How is Telia solving these crucial challenges? 🌎
  • What technologies are shaping the future of Global IoT connectivity? 🌎
  • How is Telia Global connectivity enabling a new approach to Global IoT? 🌎
  • What are the possibilities for the future of Global IoT connectivity? 🌎
  • And much more!

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Rachit Saksena is a true innovator and strategist in the IoT area. With more than a decade of experience with both horizontal and vertical IoT solutions, his expertise ranges from applications and data delivery to SIMs and connectivity, and across challenging payments and billing models. Currently heading the IoT Portfolio Management at Telia Company with a strong belief that scalability needs simplicity.

Follow Rachit on LinkedIn

Find out more about Telia Global IoT connectivity Here

Episode Transcript

Tom White
Welcome back to The IoT Podcast. I’m your host, Tom White. This is part two of the Telia special. Today we’re joined by Rachit Saksena. Rachit is a true innovator and strategist at Telia Division X. With more than a decade of experience in both horizontal and vertical IoT solutions. His expertise ranges from applications data delivery to SIMs and connectivity and across challenging payment and billing models. Rachit is currently heading up IoT Portfolio Management at Telia. And he has a strong belief that scalability needs simplicity. And I think that’s a great phrase that we can all remember, guys, quick favour as ever. Please like, comment and subscribe. You’ll get notified when there’s a new episode. I don’t care how you’re connected just as long as you’re connected, Rachit Welcome to The IoT Podcast show.

Rachit Saksena
Thank you, Tom.

Tom White
Well, it’s great to have you here. Obviously, this is part two of our special with Telia. I can never pronounce it just right, because I’m not from a Nordic region. But I’m trying so hard. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts today. Obviously, Rachit your head of IoT Portfolio Management. Can you explain a little bit more about what you do within the business please?

Rachit Saksena
Thanks. So, Telia company, we serve millions of customers, we connect them every day, entertain them, and help businesses get successful in their, you know, in their ventures. So it’s, it’s quite fun to be in the most connected region in Nordics and Baltics, across the world. So very exciting place to be in and, you know, within Telia we are on a mission to explore, build scale and commercialise, you know, the digital transformation and industry of things, which is a very focused unit within the Telia group. So that’s where we work. And one of the key things that, you know, me and my team does is basically understanding what challenges that does the enterprises have in terms of connecting their assets and transforming their business models from product to services? When the technology is so available today, all around us.

Tom White
Yeah, fantastic. And yeah, of course, for our listeners, who heard Bjorn, Telia his focused predominantly in the Nordic regions as a business, so Nordic and Baltic regions, and one of the largest operators in the space, fantastic track record, going straight into it, then Rachit so to talk about global connectivity. So, obviously, a key enabler of IoT, allowing devices to exchange information but various centralised IoT applications, massively important that we have connectivity around this and lots of people are talking about the advent of eSIMs moving on from you know, the traditional physical SIM that people used to have and lots of progression in that field. When it comes to global connectivity, customers are obviously faced with a multitude of challenges from scalability to control. In your view, what are the prominent challenges you see customers facing when it comes to connecting their products and solutions on a global scale?

Rachit Saksena
Right. I think one of the key challenges that has come up in last five years is around compliance and regulations. Right and more and more what we see happening in the in the world is that the countries are regulating how the data is processed, how the data flows, you know, from a security perspective, but also we see a huge commercial trend from the operators to protect their sort of boundaries and say, you know, in a way capture the local market it’s in the best possible way. So the enterprise’s are forced to source connectivity locally, which, you know, wasn’t the problems like 10 years ago when roaming did not have any regulation.

Rachit Saksena
So permanent roaming is coming up to like one of the key challenges when it comes to sourcing connectivity to connect your products. And that also creates additional work for the enterprise’s because then they need to have the right kind of sourcing team, they need to have a technical aggregation team where they can connect different networks coming into their back end. So they very quickly deviate from just trying to buy connectivity for their products into a number of regulatory issues, a number of integration issues, number of security issues. And, and that creates a massive organisation within an enterprise to be able to deal with all these different kinds of issues. Right, eSIM of course, as you mentioned, has, has been one of the thought of as a solution to, you know, have at least logic from logistics perspective, have like one SIM card that can have multiple operators. But I think it’s it’s a part of the puzzle, the challenge that comes with it, once you have switched from one operator to another operator, how do you maintain the same network performance? How do you maintain the same service assurance and revenue assurance and all those different aspects?

Tom White
Yeah, people talk about this a lot. Because you can monitor your own and how that works. But when it goes to another MNO, or another carrier, for instance, how does that stability work, you can’t necessarily ensure that it will be of the same standard as to your own and permanent roaming, as you say, you know is a must have, right, because otherwise, I think, is it three months Rachit currently, before then it kind of reverts -there’s a timeframe isn’t there on roaming at the moment?

Rachit Saksena
Yeah, I mean, the two types of use cases one is, you know, where the devices can go in and go out of a country. Right, yeah. And that that is not really affected by permanent roaming. But then there are the kind of regulations in countries like some of the East Asian countries, where if you are a enterprise, local registered in that country, you actually cannot buy connectivity from a foreign operator you need to register in in a database where you need to basically broadcast which devices which phone numbers are actually consuming this, what are the use cases behind, you know, those connected devices.

Rachit Saksena
So it’s not only from a roaming perspective, but there are a lot of different kinds of regulations coming up, that enterprises usually are not aware of, you know, when they’re starting, going from a pilot phase into a global rollout, and we still meet customers on a daily basis that are surprised about you know, how critical these requirements are and how deeply they can be penalised if they’re not following the regulations. And that is something that Telia has done. What we have done is we have put together a specialised team around research on regulations and compliance, on roaming on data processing, and also on taxation. So a few countries have taxation requirements that never come up, you know, as as an enterprise, if you’re doing business more than 50,000 euros, for example, in East Asian country, then you need to register your business as you can you generating that kind of revenues. And you need to then pay taxes on it. So it’s a number of different scenarios coming up as we try and tackle this global connectivity challenge.

Tom White
I mean, yeah, it’s interesting you say that, clearly compliance, regulatory, hardware, technical and these have all been in the past blockers really for mass adoption of IoT devices and why we don’t have you know, the half trillion devices that we thought we would have 10 years ago. Interested to get into it about the solution. So Telia’s global IoT connectivity. So how do you look to solve these problems?

Rachit Saksena
Well, I think we wouldn’t have solved it 10 years ago, but it’s much easier now because eSIM is becoming more like a basic hygiene requirement From the operators. There’s a increased understanding from the operators that they need, if they want to be in the IoT business, they need to have a subscription management solution that supports eSIM technology. So that’s going very well.

Rachit Saksena
Also, I initially mentioned that when what happens when you switch the subscription to another operator, you learn into a different network, there’s a different IP address, there’s a different firewall, there’s different latency at the end of it. So which is where I think we have done something very different and pioneering, we deployed a programmable network in the public clouds. And we have, you know, locations in almost every continent. So all the underlying operators that you know, are part of our Connectivity Framework are pushing the data to the closest cloud location. And we make sure that the firewalls and the policies are administered once for the entire stack of SIM cards. And as in when we add more and more operators, the enterprise don’t really need to worry about, you know, the security and the latency data processing also, because all of that we have already taken care of just because now the technology from the hyperscalers are so easily available to be able to deploy, you know, this programmable network. Right? So it’s you can think of it as a triangle between, you know, supporting eSIM ecosystem with integrations with operators, then bringing a aggregation layer on the top where the all the data and SMS comes into a single managed network. And then thirdly, it’s the research around regulations and compliance and taxation, that actually makes it possible and gives the confidence to the enterprise to buy one SIM from Telia to have one commercial agreement with Telia and rest assured that they can go on with their business.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah. Rachit, what are the trends and new technologies in your view, shaping the future of IoT global connectivity?

Rachit Saksena
I think we, we need to make sure that both the service providers like us, and the enterprises understands the the trends and the risks around regulations, there is a lot of different movements, Europe is having a different flavour of requirements than North America, which is different than Australia, which is different than, you know, Asia. So there needs to be a dedicated and conscious effort to understand the complexity and regulations. And I think that’s one of the biggest trends that we’ll see in the future. Because, you know, as as now we go from, you know, 2G, 3G to 4G, where some of the networks are still deploying 4g networks and then more advanced countries are deploying 5g, I think that gives an opportunity for the local regulators to come up with new policies.

Rachit Saksena
Because we are transforming the whole network, we’re changing the infrastructure, and we have put in, in the specification and the standards to be able to do a multiple of different kinds of configurations. That that can create different kinds of technical enabled policies and regulations. So that’s one of the biggest trends. Also, roaming is a key, I think 2G 3G is being shut down across the world, we still have customers that are sunsetting from old technology to the new technologies. So the enterprise’s needs to really collaborate in order to, you know, make sure that their use cases are not jeopardised in this migration, that’s happening across the world. And at the same time, it will take time, and enterprises needs to understand very clearly all our customers that it will take time before the operators are talking again on the new technology in terms of roaming partnerships, and, you know, doing 5G Roaming agreements, LTE, narrowband LTM you know, these all require different kinds of configurations and testing before they become very much globally industrially consumed services.

Tom White
Yeah, fantastic insights. And often is the case, isn’t it, that technology advancement sometimes can be hindered through social economical. I don’t want to say problems but regulatory advice, it needs to be fixed. Right? So, you know, in order for countries to cooperate and work together in order to bring this together can sometimes be a limiting factor. And, and often some are ahead of others, aren’t they? Right?

Rachit Saksena
Absolutely. I mean, there’s there’s a very good example in front of us. Where the adoption of electronic vehicles is consuming so much electric components, that is creating a shortage on almost every supply chain. So you never know how adoption of one technology can disrupt the existing ecosystem. So I think this is where, you know, enterprises really and along with the collaboration with the service providers, needs to need to tackle these challenges together.

Tom White
Yeah, you’re right. I mean, EV fantastic technology. But But equally, as you say, if you put too much stress on that, it’s at the detriment to other things, like causing shortages in supply chain. And, you know, I don’t want to touch upon the pandemic. And I think we’ve all had enough talking about it. But but that certainly hasn’t helped with anything that we’re going through and being able to fix some of those issues. So yeah, I can completely understand. And I think it’s exciting, right? And I say this to a lot of people at the moment we’re on, we’re on the precipice of of a real revolution, because people talk about IoT being the major component of industry 4.0. But, you know, I don’t know about you, but this whole Metaverse wave that’s coming through as well over the last, you know, six months with recent news of Microsoft acquiring Activision and various things when it comes to haptics etc, this whole technology revolution, again, of this of this, you know, fourth wave that, you know, Klaus Schwab has talked about in his book, and it’s really quite engulfing, isn’t it? And that leads me really nicely to my, my next question, when we come back to IoT is we talked about trends and technologies be what does the future hold for global IoT connectivity? And where will we ideally be and what technologies will be used at the forefront?

Rachit Saksena
I think as the as the network becomes networks become more and more fragmented due to, you know, introduction of 5G, you know, introduction of new ways of, you know, separating micro networks from macro networks. Collaboration is a very important piece collaboration, not between enterprises and the service provider, but, you know, we as a telecom community need to collaborate better with other with other operators, so we make lives or of our enterprises easier, instead of ring fencing that, you know, enterprises cannot buy connectivity in this region. And I think the, because, you know, it creates a leak leakage of revenues, I think we need to really understand the collaboration benefit that we can bring to enterprises. And that is something what we have done, quite forward leaning in, in this global connectivity offering where we have partnered up with Tier One operators across the continents. And make sure that, you know, we have back to back agreements and contracts so our enterprises can just buy from Telia. We made sure that we have complied to most of the pain points that the enterprises have. Yeah, right. So partnership has been one and then I think really using from a telco standpoint, you know, most of the telcos have had on prem solutions on prem technology, their own data centres to manage. And I think there’s a huge wave coming in from the hyperscalers the push. So I think really, it’s it’s a it’s a point or time in the curve, where you see how do you build better networks? How do you build better scalability with, you know, the upcoming technology? So I think that’s going to be one of the future trends, that at least Telia will be working on quite actively?

Tom White
Yeah, I mean, in terms in terms of Telia. So, lots, lots of things you’re doing at the moment, you know, well spoken about, you know, Bjorn has spoken about that, in part one of this special that we’re doing at the moment. What role does Telia play in the future? What other things can we expect to see? You know, surely, you can’t tell us all the secret sauce right now. But, you know, in terms of things that you can talk about, we’d be really interested to know that rushy?

Rachit Saksena
So I think we have we have already I think, said quite many times. And this is why enterprises are coming to us because we take a position of a partner orchestrator, and not just in connectivity solutions, but also in in different verticals that we grow go into, that we bring in the right partners, the relevant partners that understands the niche, understand the regulations, understands the lingo in the language that you know, a business needs. So Telia being a partner orchestrator, we will bring in source connectivity from all parts of world And we focus on Nordics and Baltics market. So enterprises that are close to our heart can go global without having the fear of, you know, disruptions in their business in the future. Right. So so it’s mainly, you know, partner orchestration is one of the key roles, then the other area where service providers have a key role to play, like Telia is to simplify regulations is to understand, you know, how, how does a, a piece of taxation act or a cloud act or permanent roaming or data processing? How does that impact the business of the enterprise. So there needs to be conscious effort being put into understanding regulations, simplifying them with the help of technology and giving that as a benefit to the enterprises. And this cannot happen without taking a position of an innovation lead, and which is where we are addresses, you know, position today as innovation leader in Nordics and Baltics with coming up, you know, pioneering technologies and ways of work simplified business models, I think all of that needs to happen, that we are on the journey on.

Tom White
Yeah, it’s, you know, I guess for me as a, you know, as a techie at heart having come from an engineering background, you sometimes forget the regulatory taxation compliance piece, which is so, so critical to the interlinking of the technology as we touched upon in the past, right.

Rachit Saksena
And I think that’s one of the key challenges in the industry, right? The technology has become cheaper and more available. So it’s very easy to have successful pilots, and demonstrate your use cases. Yeah. But when you think about scale, you need a partner that you can trust. That takes you places.

Tom White
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. What’s the biggest? What’s the biggest challenges in the technology or the regulatory issues?

Unknown Speaker
Technologies isn’t the challenge technology always solve itself? I think the main of the challenges is around understanding regulations, and then finding the right people with enough knowledge to actually guide service provider enterprises with the advice. Right. If you if you scan the market today, they hardly any companies that do a regulatory research from an IoT specific purposes and use cases, you can buy taxation advice, you can buy a regulatory advice from a roaming perspective, you can buy data processing and data centre regulation advice, but you need a partner who actually connects these and comes up with country by country, region by region, this is how we’re going to solve this.

Tom White
Yeah. Well, why do you think that is? Because IoT you know, it’s been around for a while, right? You know, we’re talking about machine to machine connectivity, people have been talking about this, but certainly five, six years or so, what, why can’t you still find that today? Again, you know, in your view?

Rachit Saksena
I think the information is there, if if you know, somebody who can connect these dots, the problem comes, you know, we as I said, we are at the edge of, you know, transforming our infrastructure, we are changing, we are going from one frame to two virtualized networks, we are, you know, going from a 2G, 3G to 4G and 5G devices. So the entire infrastructure in the backend is changing as we speak. And that gives the ability for, you know, the standardised standards, organisation and regulatory bodies to think – okay, how does how does this impact my country? How does this impact security threats, you know, different kinds of policy. So, as the as the technology around is changing quite rapidly, so as the the thought process on how to safeguard with the more agility that technology brings? So, that’s one of the one of the key areas that I think, us in Telia with a specialised group, but also our partners, whether it’s, you know, hyperscalers, or other operators, we are collaborating almost on a weekly basis on understanding – Hey, what’s happening? How does, how does cloud act or how does, you know, this taxation law in Thailand or the, you know, local buying policy in Singapore? How does how does this impact the overall enterprise when they’re sitting in Nordics and thinking about shipping, connected assets all over the world?

Tom White
I love it. That’s one of the beauty of working collaboratively with the hyperscalers isn’t it? You know, people people Talk about, you know, if you can’t beat them, join them, or what have you. But I think there’s an element of, you know, they have that presence, they have that information, they have people there, you can work with them to, you know, take take this further. And I think, again, at its core, what we’re trying to do is connect devices of environment to the internet, for the better of the world, for the better of people and for the rich man. And you know, that that relationship with the hyperscalers is is important, right. And it’s important, it’s important to be able to roll that out.

Rachit Saksena
Absolutely. And not just hyperscalers, I think it’s also important to see the the ecosystem of hyperscalers, because now we have seen such an innovation from, you know, companies to deploy their applications, virtualize them and put them in a in a hyper scale environment that, you know, can be consumed quite easily by both the service providers and the enterprises. Right? If you see, one of the biggest challenge, if I put it for any of the service provider in this space, is that the technology is so easily available, that the enterprises themselves are taking a you know, a leap here by trying and do everything by themselves from doing pilots to, you know, getting devices, designing the network, designing the backend application. And it works quite well for you know, regional use cases.

Rachit Saksena
But when you start thinking about going global, and you don’t really know what kind of framework awaits for UN enterprise to comply to, you know, that’s, that’s where we’ve seen problems. And so our biggest competition is not other service providers or other technology companies. I think it’s mainly the enterprises and the networks and the innovation, you know, agendas within them. What I think needs to come out quite clearly it’s like there needs a need, and from the enterprise’s to ask for collaboration and ask for, you know, the a partner who has done this before. Right. And that’s, that’s the position Telia has taken for almost two years now. Where, you know, we have established ourselves as one of the one of the key players in this in this arena, where enterprises can trust us and more and more regulations will come more and more networks will become fragmented because of 5G coming as the infrastructure is being replaced. Here’s, here’s a lot of emphasis, you know, on the way of work on understanding and asking the right questions when it comes to a scale out.

Tom White
Yeah, I mean, it’s, I started this episode with yourself today. And speaking of your new Division X, you know, what Telia has done is it’s really well regarded. I’m keen to understand and I know our listeners would be crying out for this. I mean, is it possible to put timescales on this to know when some of the things that are likely to happen like the advent of permanent roaming, you know, is this going to be happening this year? Are we looking five years away? How long do you think it’s gonna take before these things start to piece together?

Rachit Saksena
This is happening already now. And last two years mainly and now we have you know, as we go in more and more research into more countries, we understand like at least we have five to eight countries on our list where the government and the regulators haven’t decided what policies to come but what we get from you know, with these research companies like hold on- don’t put a long term technology solution to solve that country because they are the regulators are coming up with new regulations. Right so so this has this started all the way you know, from from Brazil I think one of the first countries to ban permanent roaming and then China followed in Australia has commercial roaming bands and you’re penalised by the operators if you don’t declare the same goes for US and Canada. We know India is coming up with regulations around data processing. Russia has already regulations around you know, data centres. So there’s there’s a lot of different types of movements, it’s not only permanent roaming, you could be into a scenario where taxation becomes a challenge. Where like in the UAE you need a local NTP and you need to buy from local operator.

Rachit Saksena
So this this has been happening all the time and will keep happening And I think we are in a in a position where we have, we have done almost research on 50ish countries where the most of the IoT is happening. And we continue to keep that updated on, depending on the advice, sometimes quarterly basis, sometimes once a year.

Tom White
Yeah, I think that’s the theme really here, isn’t it? It’s, you know, tech technology and regulation in a in a kind of two horse race.

Unknown Speaker
Exactly. And I’m quite, I’m quite grateful to the technology available today. Because then we can solve these challenges head on, we can use eSIM to switch to another operator, because there is a local legislation to have a local subscription or a commercial, then we can add a local programmable network on the top to route all the data. So we, you know, we aligned with the data processing and data, so Vanetti kind of requirements, we can deploy local connectivity platform, like the IoT platform on the top that takes care of the GDPR issues, and, you know, the storage of data in the local country. So I think the technology is just there, you need to have the right mindset understand, you know, what a different challenges and how the modular architecture, so you can go from solving permanent regulation to taxation in the same stack.

Tom White
What a fantastic way to end the show. And what a fantastic line there. I mean, really, really useful. Really, really interesting. rashie it’s been fantastic to have your views on this really complementary to what Bjorn was talking about, you know, fascinating and some of the work that Telia is doing is great. And I’m glad you’ve been able to share the story to our viewers and listeners. At this part of the show, we always ask our previous guests to think of a question for our next guest and our previous guests that we had on was Rob Hollands. Rob is the Managing Director of Sharpend, which is a agency of IoT, they’re very much involved in their connected packaging space. So working with businesses around QR codes and NFC technology to monitor asset tracking effectively. Right. Rob asks you the question, he says, in your personal view, and you can only pick one because I think there’s a multiple answers to this. What is the single most biggest challenge for IoT coming specifically, this year?

Rachit Saksena
The biggest challenge is as I said, is with the enterprises and their innovation leads to understand that, you know, it’s easier to do a technical proof of concepts and pilots in the region. But when you’re thinking about scale out, you need to reach out to partners that you can trust. So the need of having a collaborative approach when you’re developing new use cases, needs to be you know, advice to all the enterprises and and then they need to make sure that they have the right kind of technical stack as well, when when they’re going from a regional solution to a global solution.

Tom White
Rashid Sakena, Telia, thank you so much for joining us today.

Rachit Saksena
Thank you so much. It was a great show.

Tom White
Rachit, thank you so much for joining us today on The IoT Podcast. As always, guys, please find us on YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn under The IoT Podcast, check out our website theiotpodcast.com where you can watch this and all previous episodes. Get involved in the conversation. What are your thoughts on global IoT connectivity, the advent of permanent roaming and eSIMs we’d like to hear it. Cheers.

The IoT Podcast Team

The IoT Podcast is powered by Paratus People, a leading organisation in IoT Talent Solutions.

Innovation is at the heart of IoT, it is our passion to explore and learn more about this fast paced and transforming sector.

Connect & Get Involved

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.
Subscribe to our newsletter to be amongst the first to find out exclusive information about The IoT Podcast.

We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their href="https://www.sendinblue.com/legal/termsofuse/">terms of use