What is IoT billing?Before answering that, we need to understand the Internet of Things (IoT). In one of our previously written articles, we explained everything about the Internet of Things. This time we will discuss IoT billing, challenges, and keys to solving them.The connection between smart devices and everything else is called the Internet of Things (IoT). From the moment we wake up and grab our phones to when we lay back in bed and ask Alexa to turn off the lights, we are connected.It is predicted that there will be a huge increase in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, especially with the rise of 5G monetization and the new use cases it enables.These devices gather data to improve the quality of our lives by creating efficient and near-perfect experiences.Some suggest that by 2025, the IoT device industry will be worth up to $11 trillion globally. As expected, technology is outpacing every other business out there. Companies that are unable to keep up with the challenge of this technological advancement risk failure.One of the numerous challenges introduced by these innovations is effective IoT billing for monetization. Today, businesses are forced to adjust their billing systems accordingly. Table of contentsA New Kind of Billing In the Age of 5G IoTFinancial Structure of IoT and Fragmented BusinessesComplicated Value Chain in the IoT SystemOutdated Billing Solutions vs. Pricing Demands of the IoTThe increased complexity of IoT BillingStreamlining IoT Billing Is A Necessary Business Strategy A New Kind of Billing In the Age of 5G IoT Recurring charges, consolidated billing and invoicing, recurring billing, different payment methods, collections, dunning, revenue accounting, product statements, billing and revenue management, etc., all make up the billing system.These aspects of the business have conventionally been a particular area for experts. However, to benefit from IoT, conventional billing systems must be integrated into all aspects of companies.The answer is enterprise billing software with room for progressive and challenging pricing structures and business models.IoT may present some difficulties in billing, but the opportunities it creates are far greater than its problems. For a long time, transactions were simple and straight to the point. Buyers purchased the products, an upfront payment was made, and the sale ended.The transaction was closed until the buyer needed that product again. However, the method of these business transactions is becoming history, especially in B2B sales.Below are four significant challenges of IoT billing in the 5G era and their possible solutions. These solutions can lead to the sustainable growth of any business that employs them. Financial Structure of IoT and Fragmented Businesses Devices gather an unimaginable amount of data. If this data is consolidated correctly and studied, it can provide infinite and profitable intelligence.Sadly, businesses stuck in archaic billing systems cannot make the best of opportunities that may result from the data gathered by IoT.Information in these businesses must be manually consolidated. That leads to several problems such as waste of time and resources, errors, and loss of essential details of customer relationships.The old-fashioned method of gathering, updating, and studying data quickly becomes a barrier to business growth.Click and Grow is an example of a business taking advantage of its data to create progress in all aspects of its operation. Click and Grow is a company that specializes in providing smart gardening devices. It operates a subscription service to plant pods connected and paired with its smart devices. These devices are commonly sold to both vendors and customers.These devices steadily gather information to enable customers to enjoy seamless home gardening. The data collected by the devices are used to control the nutrients, light, and water levels that go into the garden.These plant necessities are tracked from an app linked to the user\u2019s computer or phone. In the case of Click and Grow, there is constant communication between: The IoT device and the various tasks it performs. The device and its producers. The business, its vendors, and end-users. The device and final users. If no system effectively collects and manages information, the business will experience difficulties in competitiveness and growth. Replacing management technologies, multiple IoT billing, and information with an integrated system can provide centralized communication and management.The clarity of data supplied results in flexibility in making adjustments and business decisions based on steady market demands and patterns. It also points out new business opportunities to create new products for a new market.The data collected by this device provides details of how best to package the product and sell it to customers. It also gives insight into improving the product and making the necessary changes to serve its users best.The Click and Grow App keep records of the lifestyles of each customer\u2019s plant. This way, it can correctly target new offers and ads.The ads encourage unsubscribed customers to replace their plants when needed. It can also make the product available for subscribing customers at the right time.The data recorded can also be used to figure out when there is a need for a new product. It also displays when there is a need for improvement or an increase in the production and distribution of a product. Complicated Value Chain in the IoT System With IoT, the business process is no longer a simple seller, buyer, and product relationship. It goes as far as connecting the vendors, manufacturers, resellers, and end-users.These connections to business channels create a complex chain. Customer service, revenue generation, and billing, which happen regularly, are collected into one system in a structured way.This form enables the transmission of information back to manufacturers, operators, and service providers. In addition, information gathered through this interrelation could pass customer intelligence to the sellers.For instance, Sonos and several other vendors make and sell smart speakers, creating a network of transactions.Users then connect to the device through a dedicated Sonos app and stream content from various streaming partners. All of them are also individually acquiring and storing data based on the kind of content being streamed by users and offering regular billing. Here, streaming options and updated features sync Sonos and the device.A Revenue Management System must effectively manage the flow created by this complex chain. That should be done in such a way that billing is supported at all transaction levels.Outdated billing systems cannot create such systemic flow, as explained above. Consequently, there is a break in customer relationship data.To fix this problem, older systems may acquire data warehouses to store customer information. The warehouse will slowly become a dumping ground. That is because manually accessing all that data and entering it in Excel is exhausting and time-consuming.Customers expect the best up-to-date services from a business. Therefore, an outdated billing system will be primarily dissatisfying and stressful for most customers. It is vital for billing systems to meet the customer\u2019s expectations if the business intends to retain customers.There is also the problem of creating several systems for vendors who operate several points sells as this can slowly become a chain of disjointed information.A solution to avoiding several systems from multiple points vendors is to employ the services of just one vendor. This vendor should be one who can provide comprehensive IoT solutions for the ecosystem\u2019s billing and financial management requirements. Outdated Billing Solutions vs. Pricing Demands of the IoT Subscription-based products benefit the sellers with the predictability of purchases and reward customer loyalty. Monetization models and pricing structures set up by IoT are fast pushing out the billing structures of businesses that are not IoT based.Customers have options and will demand a more suitable purchase experience. That includes how they are billed and how their invoices are sent to them. Customers now steadily appreciate and want the comfort of hybrid pricing options. Businesses need to be flexible and alert to thrive in the saturated IoT market. There must be active follow-up on the trends for creative discounting to rival competitors, bundled offerings, and new pricing.Also, legacy-based billing systems commonly only address a section of the IoT billing issue, such as project management, subscriptions, expense management, and one-time purchases. This one-sided approach is ineffective. Also, customers typically purchase the services mentioned above from multiple vendors in a single order.Another notable growing trend is usage-based billing. Businesses that employ it increase their revenue on the IoT ecosystem.This billing method was previously only adopted by telecommunication and utility companies. As customers would prefer to pay for what they actually use, it is fast spreading into other industries.This billing model further frees the consumer to use products, knowing they are billed according to their consumption. This eliminates the possibility of unnecessary charges.Businesses also use the data collated from usage-based billing to allocate their resources appropriately to their heavy consumers.The usage-based billing model also creates situations where customers who cannot afford a product or service pay as they use it. Recurring billing allows purchase costs to be paid off over time.Businesses that adopt legacy billing systems are mainly inflexible and unable to keep up with the ever-changing usage requirements. Flexible systems are often more suited to modern monetization methods. The increased complexity of IoT Billing Whether knowingly or accidentally, the wrong revenue declaration can prompt legal sanction and restating income. Business executives are wary of taking this risk. Therefore, it is pertinent that businesses are careful with their revenue recognition.According to ASC 606, subscription businesses cannot record their revenue until the value is delivered. The standards for revenue recognition create complexity for IoT billing concerning accounting for revenue from subscription-related services.Revenue recognition categorizes payment as earned\/recognized or deferred.The billing system a business uses should account for deferred revenue. It should make sure that the income is not recorded prematurely. This is because billing and revenue are recognized and recorded gradually daily.Conversely, it should not be accepted until the end of the billing period to avoid record errors.Point old billing systems cannot maintain the dynamic requirements of the ASC. They don\u2019t have the required data for accurate revenue recognition of a completed transaction. And, as systems change over time, they cannot keep up and record accurate data.Due to this lapse in the system, businesses that run point billing systems have two alternatives. They could audit their orders and subscriptions manually.This method is also risky and prone to mistakes. Alternatively, they can buy a different point revenue recognition system \u2013 this option is expensive and hard to integrate. The manual methods are also risky and prone to mistakes.Billing systems need to be able to stay updated on the changes made during a customer\u2019s IoT subscription phase. These records may include: Cancellation Discounts Free trial periods Upgrades Downgrades Leaving these changes to manual entry may result in errors in revenue recognition.A modern and effective billing system will automate the revenue recognition process with high accuracy. This allows the business to focus on growth.For example, Tridens Monetization, a modern recurring billing system, is designed based on a powerful ledger-based platform. Also, it allows control of revenue recognition at the product stage. It also allows one to earn immediate one-time fees or over a fixed period. Streamlining IoT Billing Is A Necessary Business Strategy All IoT Billing issues possess a mutual divide between businesses and essential data. This is data that companies can take advantage of.The information can be used in managing a business\u2019s pricing structure versus the pricing demand in the market. Furthermore, they can manage end-to-end billing chains and modern accounting standards.Appropriate partnerships and technologies will make it possible for businesses to: Grow, familiarize with, and increase their competitive advantages irrespective of market changes Use all the intelligence gathered to manage the customer journey and exploit IoT Correctly and swiftly collect and analyze data Edit their billing processes as needed The fundamental solution to billing difficulties rests on implementing modern billing systems. These systems must be in alignment with holistic business necessities. It must also enable seamless data exchange between different technology and business mechanisms. Want to get more information about our solutions? Leave a comment below or Schedule a Demo!