The Robin Hood of IoT: 1NCE's Approach for Simplifying Connectivity


At this year’s CES in Las Vegas, its opening day brimmed with companies making huge announcements. One in particular was 1NCE – provider of connectivity and software for IoT, known for its global Lifetime Flat service – as its team introduced the tech world to 1NCE OS. The 1NCE OS platform, available in 153 countries, includes tools both powerful and complimentary to transform data with actionable insights and a minimal lift. Why? To make connectivity in IoT as accessible as possible.

In addition to publishing a 1NCE OS-focused piece, I had the opportunity to speak with Ivo Rook, 1NCE’s Chief Operating Officer. After discussing the 1NCE OS launch, we dove deeper into more of the whats, whys and hows of 1NCE itself. Below, I’ve compiled the most notable excerpts from this conversation.

Alex Passett:  Let’s cover more of the ‘what’ here. What does 1NCE bring to the table?

Ivo Rook:  We first created a global Lifetime Flat rate that gave our customers universal accessibility and scalability, and now we are going beyond just connecting devices anywhere in the world. In IoT, there are two hyper-important data sets: the first lives on hardware devices with millions of sensors globally, and the second is interpreted in the cloud. Typically, cloud providers see their cloud protocols and hardware providers see their own; 1NCE, however, sees both. We’re the transporters of data between the two.

So, why would we charge for the data that is not 1NCE’s, just to ultimately sell it back to customers? We don’t. Us seeing it first shouldn’t matter. What we’ve developed is a rich understanding of the challenges associated with building connected products, and we support the IoT supply chain and lifecycle completely with our customers in mind.

That’s the ‘what’ here. At $10 for 10 years – which is quite a long time for technology – 1NCE’s customers can deploy, connect, and manage their IoT sensors (and the data collected) worldwide for as little as just another $1 per year. The previous price point for this was approximately $1 to $2 per month. That’s the takeaway. We don’t take 10-20% of the cost out; we provide our services at a fraction of what it cost before.

1NCE was built from the ground up with this in mind – not as an afterthought, but as the premier forethought. That is our foundation for what we do and what we’re bringing to market. This now includes 1NCE OS, which simplifies hardware and cloud alike.

AP:  So, why then? Can you describe the ‘why’ behind 1NCE’s mission?

Ivo Rook, 1NCE COO

IR:  Connectivity. 1NCE believes that connectivity should be as universal as electricity. Plain as day. That’s why we offer our Lifetime Flat service, and why we created 1NCE OS. Our company is incredibly passionate about connectivity and connected products. We build solutions the right way once, and users connect their products with 1NCE, once.

AP:  Do elaborate, if you wouldn’t mind.

IR:  The ‘why’ of 1NCE is also what we view as the humbling part of this equation. It’s about our customers. It’s our customers that change the world. Too often, tech players in IoT think they alone can change it, be it with medical supplies or smart bulbs or what have you. But, really, 1NCE knows that we’re just the component provider. It’s truly about the medical professionals behind those delivered supplies. It’s about the actual installers of those smart bulbs that light up cities. We streamline and facilitate for our customers, so everyone experiences success.

You know, it’s even in our motto: At 1NCE, we work very hard to take the industry’s tech and uncomplicate it. IoT is a supply chain industry. We’re working to change that supply chain and how connectivity is approached, so that our customers can build better products and change the world.

AP:  What about third-party players in the industry? Will you allow them to contribute, as well?

IR:  Yes. Following the take-off of 1NCE OS in the big ways we expect it to, we will allow third parties to participate and contribute to the code. What we want is for that code to be used to improve devices in the cloud and to be used freely. In that sense, we are proud that some around the industry refer to 1NCE as the Robin Hood of IoT.

AP:  Naturally, that name has a strong connotation. Why Robin Hood?

IR:  The only thing we want is to make connectivity in IoT easier. We work to make it easier for connected products to stay connected, well-managed, and secure.

When you boil it down, this subject has become an overly complex mechanism to turn something that should be available anyway into a monetized model for big network operators and the industry’s software hyperscalers. We’re going another route. We provide universal access and allow our customers to see the code, share the code – so in a way you could argue that we take from operators and hyperscalers and give back to developers and fast-growing new companies. We want developers to use it, to exchange it, to contribute to it. They may very well see things in the data we didn’t remotely think of. It should be shared.

So, we are IoT’s Robin Hood in the sense of being an industry equalizer; we’re working diligently to deliver the best-possible services and supporting accessibility everywhere we can.

AP:  It seems those ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ give way to the ‘hows’ behind 1NCE achieving this feat.

IR:  Absolutely. How do we operate at 10% of the cost and still make a margin? We do it right, and from the ground up. Huge names already invest with us for this reason – for example, Deutsche Telekom, the largest shareholder of T-Mobile, SoftBank, I Squared Capital and Kensington. They know, quite transparently, how we operate. The support of our operator investors is crucial for our business. At $1 per year, businesses invest in us and we, in return, get access to investors’ commodities to best serve them. We make these trades with equity owners to provide the industry’s most precious commodity at the lowest possible cost.

How else does 1NCE accomplish this? With our numbers. There are more than 300 people behind 1NCE; at least 70% of them are technicians, and they recognize a shift in the industry’s momentum. IoT is moving to the software world, and our software makes global connectivity easier and super economic.

AP:  Any final thoughts?

IR:  Yes, regarding Robin Hood. Readers should know we mean this in the most beneficial way possible for everyone. After all, that data from millions of devices doesn’t belong to us; again, it belongs to our customers. We don’t abide by turning customer data into a platform that is then monetized and sold back to customers. We first transacted with operators and provided to developers, democratizing connectivity. Now, rather than turning our customers’ data into heavy SaaS subscription models, we take all the data and the code that developers want and provide it.

At the end of the day, when millions of devices are continually deployed – many in very hard-to-reach places – your business case should anticipate deploying them once. Our passions rest with the notion of building device connectivity as a component into connected products so it’s built once and never again does it need to be hassled with.

1NCE makes connectivity what it always should’ve been so our customers can do what they do best.

Edited by Alex Passett
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