Manx telecom is an inspiration to small players everywhere. Their original ‘network’ had just four subscribers. Now, they look after more than five million SIMs globally. Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with Paul Craig, Head of IoT at Manx Telecom, to take a closer look at what underpins their success.

Manx Telecom is a unique entity. Its home, the Isle of Man, is situated in the Irish sea between England and Ireland and has a population of around 100,000 people. Yet, geographical location hasn’t held Manx back. In fact, Paul attributes part of its success to Manx’s unique size and location: “The Isle of Man is a perfect testbed for testing and assessing new products and services because it’s small enough to manage but big enough to prove the concept.” 

Besides providing the perfect location for testing, Paul also credits the Isle of Man’s limited market as a motivation for Manx's growth: “There is only a finite number of people who live there, so we've always had to innovate and think outside the box to grow and develop our business.”

In the face of traditional telecommunications competitors, Manx Telecom’s size has also given them a unique advantage. As a smaller player, Manx has been able to build close relationships with its customers, encouraging collaboration and open and honest communication. The tight-knit nature of the business also means they can operate flexibly, offering quick and agile responses to their customer's needs – a highly valued quality in our fast-paced and ever-changing world.

However, success within the IoT industry is not a given; your offering must be clearly defined to stand out from the crowd. Manx found that establishing its unique value propositions and building the right partner ecosystem took time, and Paul jokes that they had to ‘kiss a few frogs’ before they could determine their ‘sweet spot’, which is now providing IoT connectivity to OEMs, system integrators, service, and solution providers. 

Despite now focusing on connectivity, like many other providers, Manx’s origins are not within IoT. Crucial to Manx’s success has been their specialization in ‘talking’ IoT, which stemmed from their historic service: providing voice coverage and sim cards globally and connecting multi-networks in each country. Paul says it was Manx’s original products that led them to uncover the potential of voice in IoT: “If you can access two or three networks, it lends itself to mission-critical type communication… so it wasn't surprising that we found ourselves in places like the medical monitoring space, where you're monitoring people, and you want to be able to speak to that person if there's a problem.”

In more recent times, it's no longer just people on the end of these mission-critical communications, but also machinery, as Manx offers these mission-critical services to all types of industries. Presently, Manx is working with customers in security, home automation, and industrial IoT, enabling them to control processes and automation remotely. 

There is a lot to be learned from the story of Manx Telecom. Perhaps most noteworthy is the success Manx has seen despite its size and origin. Coming from an Island of just 100,000 people, they've fought against the odds to innovate and grow. And while Paul points out that it hasn't happened overnight, Manx has proven to us all that the IoT space is not just for big players. They’ve shown that thinking outside the box, focusing on innovation, and capitalizing on your assets can generate success, regardless of your organization’s size.

To hear more from Paul on how you can future-proof and strategize your IoT offering listen to our Accelerators podcast here

  • Michal Harris
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