· On September 12th, Telefonica held an analyst conference in New York that focused on its ambitions and traction in M2M and featured a new high-profile customer – OnStar
· On September 13th, Orange held an analyst conference in Brussels that focused on its ambitions and traction in M2M and featured a new high-profile customer – Qualcomm Life
M2M is still in its infancy when it comes to numbers of connections and revenues, despite the fact that it is a decade-plus old industry, with wireless POS and fleet management solutions running over networks since the dark ages of cellular connectivity. These days, M2M generates excitement because it captures the imagination as people think of all of the “things” in their lives that can possibly be connected. Global operators Orange and Telefonica are upbeat about the opportunity and chose the same week to hold analyst events focused on M2M.
Orange’s goal is to have a base of 10 million M2M SIM cards by 2015. Today, it has 2.5 million active SIMs plus an additional 4.5 million SIMs signed by its International M2M Center with its global offer. The carrier aims to sustain a 50% annual growth rate, and it wants to be perceived as a partner of choice that is “easy to do business with”. Orange has 250 employees dedicated to M2M, strong integration capabilities, and can offer a one-stop shop from consulting to service management. Though Orange’s M2M offer is focused on Europe, it offers a global SIM supported by 500 roaming agreements in 220 countries. A partnership with Deutsche Telekom and TeliaSonera will allow the three operators to provide customers with consistent service quality and solid escalation processes across a combined footprint. Qualcomm Life came to Orange because it offers a centrally managed end-to-end connectivity solution for Europe, with the broadest cellular coverage in the region (when including its partner networks). Aside from connectivity from Orange, Orange Business Services adds IT solutions, a 220-country IP network, and professional services.
Telefonica sees M2M as an enormous opportunity where it is can provide end-to-end solutions and global reach. It has more than 6 million lines in service and is building up value-added horizontal capabilities in device installation and management, data collection and analysis, and managed connectivity. Its capabilities include real-time monitoring and reporting, supported by customer relationship management, invoicing, and support. It is building up vertical expertise in key markets such as transportation, utilities and sustainability, industrial telemetry, smart cities, consumer electronics, and point of sale as well as eHealth and security. It also offers end-to-end solutions for fleet management and insurance telematics. Telefonica is allied for M2M with China Unicom, Avea, Etisalat, KPN, Telstra, Telenor, Vimpelcom, Rogers, Singtel, and Docomo. The goal of the alliance is to increase market awareness, expand its footprint globally, increase efficiency and scale, and develop new vertical revenue streams and business models. At the end of the session, Telefonica M2M customer OnStar described its offerings, what it needed in a global provider for M2M, and why it chose Telefonica as its M2M partner outside the U.S.
The two sessions had similar themes: the need for partnering with other operators to increase value for MNCs; the need to go up the value chain beyond connectivity to offer advisory, integration and end to end services; and the evidence that big global customers are already using these services and seeing M2M as a valuable technology.