The Industrial Internet of Things FEATURE NEWS

Senet Goes Global with New Chief Executive at the Helm

By Special Guest
Cynthia Artin, Special Correspondent
June 20, 2017

LoRaWAN IoT network services provider Senet announced a significant evolution of their strategy, being driven by a new CEO, Bruce Chatterley. Coming off a year-long assignment in London, consulting to COLT Technology Services as their interim CMO, Chatterley like many telecom veterans in transition, was attracted to the world of connected things.

“Europe, as is often the case, is ahead of North America in taking risks and rolling out new services,” Chatterley said. “I learned a lot about various approaches and business models while in the UK and traveling throughout the world, and was immediately taken with the opportunity for LoRa given the large community setting standards early in the development cycle. LoRa is working extremely well, way ahead of NB-IoT, 5G and LTE, with more practical economics and proven network implementations.”

Scaling LoRa from primarily local to regional and global network services is where Chatterley is clearly going after landing the top spot at Senet, which has built the largest LoRa Network-as-a-Service offering in North America, to date, with over 220 cities deployed in the US.

But it is not the physical network that Chatterley sees as the company’s greatest asset. “The network the Senet team has so successfully built is evidence that LoRa works and enterprises want it,” Chatterley said. “But I became most excited about joining up with the team after I became familiar with their OSS and BSS software and the portal they make available, which is way out ahead as the telecom industry continues the jump shift into virtualization and software defined networking. This has been no easy task, but in order to ensure the LoRa services we provide not only work well, but can be managed efficiently and in real time with software, Senet had to build what I consider to be one of the most advanced operating and billing systems in the world.”  

The timing for jumping into IoT by joining the company made sense, according to Chatterley for a few reasons. “Device battery life is more critical than we can imagine, particularly with large scale industrial IoT deployments. It’s not about the cost of the replacement battery but the operational cost of having to make those replacements, in sensors and other equipment that is baked into large factories, buildings, power meters, precision farming and irrigation systems, power grids, and more.”

Chatterley also cited the need for low touch or even zero touch deployments. “Most IoT projects are still in the proof-of-concept stage right now, or are in small test beds waiting for validation before enterprises invest in instrumenting not only one big factory – but all their factories. We’re about to see an explosion of devices into the millions and multi-millions as the cost of sensors continues to go down, and the value of the data from connected things starts to make a real difference for businesses. Automation of provisioning thousands of devices at one time is not going to be a luxury – it is going to be a necessity, and Senet is solving for that and will be investing even more in working with the ecosystem to automate further. This is why standards are so important.”

IoT is no longer going to be about cool little Bluetooth and WiFi trials, Chatterley believes. “Communications Service Providers like AT&T, Verizon, BT, Vodafone and others were very wise to step back and watch the world of IoT evolve, but are now stepping up to participate in the inevitability of massive networking that allows for centralization of massive IoT systems for their large enterprise customers, including companies like GE, IBM, SAP, and other software and systems integration giants.

Chatterley has held senior executive positions at Tier One companies (including US West and Ameritech) and he has also served as a Board Member at wireless challengers like Clearwire

As much of an enthusiast as he is about disruption and network evolution, Chatterley said, “the concepts of 5G and NB-IoT are still that – concepts. There is no real progress when it comes to agreed-to technical specifications, and there is no real timeline. LoRa’s community was smart in that they established fully operational, global standards within a hardware and software ecosystem.”

Chatterley attributes the success of Senet and their competitors to the “practical magic” of high performance, low cost networking for certain types of deployments. “LoRa is not an IoT network for every application,” he said, “but it is a perfect approach for 45-50% of the addressable market.”

Senet is now rolling out their services to the entire world through their new Managed Network Services for IoT offering, after completing and continuing to build their LoRaWAN in the U.S. Chatterley says this was driven by the market, as more and more calls came in from global wireless operators, application providers, and enterprises that were looking for guidance on getting started with LoRaWAN.

“It became obvious based on pattern recognition that Senet has a big market for now selling LoRaWAN services working with any communications service provider,” Chatterley said. “Why build when you can repackage and sell an already proven service? We are also getting calls from tech giants who have built IoT solutions and wish to bundle services with those solutions.”

Based on the architecture of the OSS and BSS platform Senet built, instances can be set up and partitioned for any number of customers who can embed networking services into their product offerings, whether they are selling connectivity, or selling connectivity “inside” solutions.

“Take, for example, a big company who wins a contract for rolling out smart street lights in a big city,” Chatterley said. “That company can either partner with one or more local broadband providers to connect the things and provide access to network visibility and management, or that company can sell their solution with connectivity built in, which turns an equipment and integration company into a services company overnight. Bringing recurring monthly revenues into their business models represents a real sea change.”

While Chatterley is still new with the company, having been on the bridge only a week, he hinted that there will be announcements coming up that will validate their decision to expand into global markets. “I feel incredibly fortunate to join Senet at a the right time and to work with a team that has some of world’s foremost experts in IoT communications”.

Senet also announced last week they are working with Mueller Systems to deliver advanced metering infrastructure for the distribution of clean drinking water throughout North America.

A subsidiary of Mueller Water Products, Inc. (NYSE:MWA), this division provides smart metering solutions to optimize the delivery and use of water.  Both Mueller Systems and Senet are members of The LoRa Alliance, an open, non-profit association of members that believes the IoT era is now.

Mueller Systems will utilize Senet’s open standards-based, public LoRaWAN to bring its LoRa®- enabled metering solutions to market and to deliver IoT solutions and coverage to its customers throughout North America.  This collaboration will bring to market a highly scalable network of wireless IoT sensors for water metering and management applications designed to boost utility provider efficiencies.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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