the ultimate faceoff

The times have changed. Cellular connectivity has boomed and become ubiquitous and MVNOs like Konekt have brought down the cost of data making the question of Cellular vs WiFi being an honest and important one.The start-up world is ripe with new wireless solutions as VCs see the benefit of cellular, but it might be hard for developers who are thinking about their own use-cases to understand the times that Cellular wins and wins big. If your only experience with the internet is on your computer, tablet, and phone, then it's easy to make assumptions about what people want and why they want it.A phone that streams video and gobbles up $100/mo in data might make cellular seem frivolous vs WiFi, but the costs are actually heavily in the favor of cellular for many new and emerging solutions. It also may seem strange to a consumer why they should buy another cellular device when they already have one in their phone or tablet. The goal is to shift away from Business-to-Consumer and start thinking about Business-to-Business to put yourself in the right frame of mind.Understanding a cellular solution early and turning that into a business is what can turn your developments skills from a salaried job into a start-up that can balloon and serve customers that didn't even know they needed or could save money.Case Study #1: Connectivity: Realtor Key LockboxCellular solutions make a lot of sense when considering the cost of adding data connectivity to a new location. Let's go over a business case study involving a real estate firm. Currently the homeowner lists a house with a realtor and that realtor leaves a lockbox key at the location. Other realtors can use the lockbox combo to access the key and show the house. Once a realtor has the combo, there is no further need to ask for it, nor any real incentive to communicate with the original realtor. The realtor and the homeowner are in the dark about how many showings are happening. They don't even know to solicit for feedback if they don't know a visit has happened.Enter the connected solution. Let's assume the homeowner has WiFi. The realtor must coordinate with the homeowner to get the password. The realtor would then have to test out the password onsite. If the password or WiFi don't work, then the realtor has the combo fallback, but loses the benefits of being connected. The location of the lock could be out of range in the case of a condo or large house. More likely, the owner could no longer be living in the location or is trying to sell/rent/lease an empty property. Who wants to pay for internet for an empty property?The best solution in this case is to offer a cellular solution that works anywhere phones can get a signal. The system can be configured and tested at the office before going to the property. A simple phone app can coordinate with the server to authorize and track who is showing the property and include mandatory showing feedback.Since realtors split 5% of the property price, any data that helps them sell it sooner and for more money is a very small investment. This is especially true with a device that they can re-use and recoup the costs over time.In this case Cellular wins out because it will work consistently where WiFi won't work.Case Study #2: Deployment costWe know that a cellular solution makes sense when there is no WiFi available. Next we'll go over a use-case where WiFi is readily available if the property owner wishes to pay more for it versus cellular. The Personal Storage industry did over 27.2 billion dollars of revenue in 2014. Personal Storage is a great candidate for this use-case because unlike many other service industries, there is no expectation of having internet on-site and although the costs could be spread among all the tenants, people want storage to be as cheap as possible. Because there is no expectation of data, the only thing that a company might want to use connectivity for is lock and gate access management.To get started with a WiFi lock solution you would need internet installed with a contract. That internet would cost at least $30/month, but probably more because business internet is more expensive. The contract may or may not come with a router, but you pay for it either way. The system needs to be set-up and maintained, which means you need someone locally on-site to set it up. Technicians aren't cheap. Every time there is an outage, you would have to send a technician. Managing the contracts and payments to the internet providers for each location is also non-trivial. You would need someone on payroll to manage the contracts and keep an eye on the rising internet prices. It's not looking all that great for WiFi.A cellular solution with Konekt wouldn't require a contract, with plans starting at just $1 a month. The cellular hardware would be cheaper than the first month of internet service, meaning that a cellular solution wins over WiFi in the first month.Servicing Hardware is also much cheaper. The system can be designed to phone home with a heartbeat and let the server know that everything is alright. If there is a problem (meaning potentially angry customers and lost revenue) a less skilled technician can be sent out to replace the lock instead of needing someone capable of troubleshooting WiFi. It may be easy for you, but paying someone to do that isn't in your bottom line's best interest.There are certainly many times when WiFi wins over cellular, but thinking about when and where cellular is a winner and offering a solution that saves another industry money is how to start a new company or expand an old one.Opportunities like these are all over the place. We may feel like the world has become fully connected, but with costs these low there are thousands of legacy industries that can benefit from a connected solution.

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