As Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Airtel keep up their years-long battle for relevance following the telecom market's disruption, the companies have turned to the Internet of Things (IoT). Both Vi and Airtel announced business-oriented IoT solutions in quick succession — shortly after Vi announced a virtual press event for the vertical, Airtel (which usually holds press events for launching such enterprise offerings) put out a press release before its legacy competitor's event. Vi made its announcement on Thursday. Both companies are targeting manufacturing automation as a key focus area. Airtel has signed on MG, the British automobile brand with a small presence in India, to enable what it calls "real-time infotainment and telematics." Airtel and Vi are positioning their IoT solutions as enterprise products; Vi is saying it will support "connectivity, hardware, network, application, analytics, security and support," and Airtel says its offering is an "end-to-end platform with the capability to connect and manage billions of devices and applications in a highly secure and seamless fashion." How big is IoT going to be? IoT devices to outnumber others: Airtel said in its press release that cellular-based IoT is estimated to be a ₹10,000 crore market by next year. That makes it a fairly attractive proposition in the long term, and an interesting experiment in the medium term — for a sense of scale, Airtel had revenues of around ₹87,500 crores in FY 2020–21. Consider that IoT devices are expected to widely outnumber non-IoT devices in the next few years, and…
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