On Wednesday at Mobile World Congress, Cisco announced that it is working with Three Group and Entel Peru to provide new IoT services to a global audience. TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox talked to Cisco's Director of IoT Strategy, Theresa Bui, about the new partnerships.
Teena Maddox: Theresa, can you tell me about Cisco's new partnerships with Three Group and Entel Peru?
Theresa Bui: We partner with over 50 service providers around the world. They offer our platform that manages IoT connectivity to their enterprise customers. So this announcement is adding to that list of mobile operators that we work with. We are announcing partnerships with Three Group, which represents mobile networks across 12 countries, and with Entel Peru. Central and South America are one of the fastest growing IoT markets, so we're always extremely excited to add new service providers in that market.
These two new partnerships with Three Group and Entel will mean that we now at Cisco are able to help companies manage and deploy IoT devices across over 550 mobile networks. And when I say we have "over" 50 partnerships with these service providers or mobile network operators, they represent, underneath them, multiple mobile networks. So those over 50 service providers represent 550 mobile networks around the world. And I think, I should know this number off the top of my head, I think there's something like 710 mobile networks around the world. So the fact that we have 550 of those covered means, for enterprise customers, that you pretty much name the markets you want to go after, and we have a network that will support wherever you want to deploy your IoT devices.
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Most companies when they deploy IoT for the first time, they will want to do it in a very specific market; their own first market. But very quickly they'll want to scale. So you'll want to, if you are a customer of Three Group, you might want to start in Ireland or the UK but you can now deploy your devices in the Hong Kong market, right, because Three Group covers Hong Kong as well as the UK. If you want to, if you are a Three Group customer and you want to extend your deployment into North America or Southern Europe, you can do that with Three Group or you can work with Three Group in partnership with one of our other service providers that might have a network in a market that you want to deploy.
So really what it means is companies can quickly provision, deploy and monitor IoT devices in whatever markets, right, they want to go into. Last year, as an example, at MWC we announced one of our partnerships was with KT out of Korea and Korea Telecom is in the news currently because they are the big network provider for the Winter Olympics. I thought KT last year said it really well; one of the benefits about bringing Cisco, enabling Cisco Control Center onto our network is, number one, Korean companies can easily deploy IoT devices in Korea, but even more importantly, companies who are outside of Korea and want to deploy their devices into Korea can do so easily. So it's an inward and outward benefit, in terms of IoT growth and development.
Teena Maddox: What are some of the opportunities for Three Group with Cisco Control Center?
Theresa Bui: Specifically, Three Group is one of the more innovative service providers that we have started working with. They see opportunity in the world of connected cars, as a vertical. Home security and automation, building automation as a second, retail and point-of-sale environments for IoT deployment, and even extending into, I know another vertical they're very interested in extending into is healthcare. Personal and consumer healthcare. That really, to be honest with you, also kind of maps to the high growth verticals that we see across the board. Connected car remains the number one, or the largest vertical for IoT deployment, but very quickly after that is security and building automation, manufacturing, retail point-of-sale, and healthcare is the top five fastest growing verticals.
So Entel, for us, what's exciting is it represents another foothold for us in the Central and South American market, which has over the last two years really picked up in terms of the number of IoT devices deployed in those markets. And in those markets, I think the two biggest verticals really are around connected car and retail; point-of-sale machines. So most every point-of-sale machine you have now is connected, right? It has to have access to the internet, either wired or cellular, and that market is really taking off quickly, in mom and pop stores as well as more established brick and mortar stores across Central and South America.
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.