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Prepaid data meets IoT

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Given the explosion of the M2M sector, prepaid SIMs should be viewed as a critical business tool for the modern age, not just an end-user solution, writes HEIN KOEN, co-founder of Flickswitch.

Data traffic is expected to see an almost ten-fold increase by 2019, due to the growing range of new services and applications. However, while the GSMA Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2015 report projects that machine-to-machine connections (M2M) in the region will reach 30 million by 2020, difficult economic conditions mean that enterprises using this technology remain under pressure to reduce their mobile data expenditure.

With the need to tighten budgets and a push to be more efficient, enterprises are re-examining their mobile data expenditure, prepaid offers a perfect alternative.

The age of enterprise prepaid is here

Gone are the days when traditional corporate accounts are the go-to product. With the continuous expansion of data requirements in a digital world, decision-makers are considering all avenues. Prepaid SIMs should form an integral part of this discussion.

Prepaid is often viewed as something only consumers in developing markets use, and while this might have been true a few years ago, the reality is quite different. It presents businesses of all sizes across industry sectors with a feasible data management solution.

We have been doubling the number of prepaid SIMs we manage in the market year on year, across sectors including retail, asset tracking, agriculture, insurance, and media. Prepaid solutions cut out potential bill-shock as users (and devices) can only use the amount of data that gets loaded. With lower risk and ultimate budget control, prepaid solutions have in many cases become the platform of choice.

Furthermore, it is more than just an end-user solution. Given the explosion of the M2M sector, prepaid provides even further impetus for change.

The 2015 Vodafone M2M Barometer Report reveals that 35 percent of South African companies surveyed have implemented M2M projects, with 26 percent planning to do so within the next 12 months. 

Additionally, those companies who have adopted M2M technologies have already experienced a significant return on investment.

Those businesses who have embraced M2M are also seeing the benefits that prepaid provides them in the space. While it helps alleviate the burden of deploying SIMs to field workers and M2M-enabled devices, it needs to be managed effectively and there are management tools available that enable companies to better manage the prepaid SIMs they have in circulation.

Controlling everything from per-SIM data limits, to easily allowing those SIMs in use to be topped up if need be, the age of enterprise prepaid is here. By working with tools and partners who can help them manage their SIMs, enterprises are now in a position to be able to adjust to organisational requirements quicker than in the past.

Prepaid SIMs should therefore be viewed as a critical business tool for the modern age. Its low risk and cost effectiveness, linked to the ability to manage, make it a great business differentiator.

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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