- Verizon treated analysts to a one-day roundtable at its Innovation center for M2M in Waltham, Massachusetts on February 11
- Executives provided information and insights on the carrier’s specific vertical industry initiatives and traction, and analysts toured the facility to view a broad range of M2M solutions across industries and use cases.
Verizon’s analyst roundtable on its Connected Solutions business was an unusual opportunity to learn in depth information on its key areas of focus for M2M. Specific sessions covering its top vertical markets (i.e., utilities, healthcare and automotive telematics) not only provided analysts with a better understanding of these markets, but also supplied proof points to generate a favorable impression of Verizon’s initiatives, strategy and market traction within each vertical and in the overall M2M market.
Within the energy market, Verizon is seeing an annual growth rate of over 100% in connections. It sees new opportunities among smaller, rural and municipal utilities that are starting to realize the benefits of leveraging cellular to upgrade their aging network infrastructures and allow collection not only of meter/sensor data but also of data that can save on field visits by predicting performance problems and monitoring voltage. Collection of this data can extend the life of existing infrastructure while helping utilities upgrade to a next gen, two-way “smart” grid. Consumer “demand/response” systems are also a future opportunity.
Verizon has been involved in wide-ranging e-healthcare initiatives for many years, and has an FDA-approved HIPAA compliant healthcare exchange platform and a large partner ecosystem. It has platforms for converged healthcare management (including a cloud-based solution to capture device data), virtual healthcare (for home health monitoring, i.e., collecting remote data on health status for diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions, as well as tele-health solutions for virtual doctor visits). It also offers security solutions that are key in such a heavily regulated industry. As with energy solutions, Verizon stresses that its data center/hosting/cloud assets, its security solutions, its professional services, and its 4G and MPLS networks allow it to differentiate and to provide end to end solutions. The company is also focused on becoming a leading provider of analytics, to help customers use device data to make better business decisions. Healthcare M2M connections are up 158% year over year.
Verizon has multiple solutions in the automotive telematics segment, which is up 195% year over year and has 900 employees dedicated to this business unit. It offers its NetworkFleet solution for mid-size company fleet management, offers connectivity and a comprehensive automotive platform (originally from Hughes) with Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen as key accounts, including Mercedes’ rollout of a comprehensive 60-feature connected car solution in China (with connectivity partner China Mobile). The carrier also has solutions for the automotive aftermarket and for dealers, as well as a deal with State Farm to offer usage based insurance. As with other industries, Verizon’s cloud infrastructure and security capabilities are strong differentiators in this market and big data analytics will be of increasing importance.
Overall, the roundtable helped provide a view of Verizon as a significant and successful player in M2M with many irons in the fire and lots of opportunities. The facilities tour also added credibility as it showcased solutions that ranged from smart “human” kiosks, to connected appliances, to tele-medicine solutions, to business back-up solutions, to point of sale devices, to connected car after-market solutions that add tracking, safety and security, to smart grid and meter reading devices.