Vodafone UK: new IoT services to remove adoption barriers
Vodafone UK’s recent announcement reports that the telecommunications company has partnered with IoT.nxt - part of the Vodafone Group - to offer its customers every part of an IoT solution, with a single data management platform, and the ability to integrate old and new devices in one system.
In doing this, the company aims to remove the barriers for UK businesses when it comes to the adoption of IoT, by ensuring that it is accessible for all businesses, including those without a specialist in-house.. As part of its new services, Vodafone UK will provide IoT sensors and devices, develop a data management platform and provide ongoing professional services.
In a recent report released by Vodafone UK, the company outlined the benefits of ‘digital buildings’. The report found that investing in IoT for public sector buildings could: reduce carbon emissions by up to 1.2mn tonnes of CO2 a year, reduce energy usage by 15%, and save taxpayers up to £380mn annually. The report calls in the UK government to explore the potential of digital buildings technology.
“We’re making it easy for any business to adopt IoT. We’re taking away complexity, and making it simple to deploy, simple to manage, and simple to see the return on investment. With our colleagues at IoT.nxt we can be unique in the UK market – we’ll grow our leadership position from here, and deliver customers a digital capability that will prove invaluable in meeting the pressures of business today,” commented Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK.
In 2019, Vodacom - part of the Vodafone Group - acquired 51% of share in IoT.nxt, the addition to the group is expected to help Vodafone UK to grow its leadership in the IoT space by opening up new market opportunities.
“It’s great to be part of the Vodafone Group. After a successful collaboration with Vodacom in South Africa, we are thrilled to power the new era of Vodafone UK’s IoT strategy. IoT is perceived by many businesses to be complex and bespoke, but it doesn’t have to be. We hope to change that perception with a platform which can be adapted to any business, and type of connection, and any use case,” concluded Nico Steyn, CEO of IoT.nxt.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”