What Anna Karenina Can Teach Telcos About Scale and Success in the Internet of Things

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

• When there are more ways to go wrong than right, only the very brave take up the challenge.

• Specialization offers a viable risk mitigation strategy, but choosing it is hard.

Tolstoy opens Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” By this he means a family must satisfy all of a number of criteria in order to be happy; a failure in any one leads to unhappiness. Thus there are more ways to be unhappy than happy. Read more of this post

Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Risk Missing the Point as They Start Fibre Roll-outs

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

• Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone both target business parks with fibre roll-outs

• Customer expectations and experience are missing from their agendas

Probably the last thing Deutsche Telekom needed last month was Vodafone announcing a EUR2 billion fibre network rollout targeting 100,000 companies in 2,000 business parks across Germany. The former incumbent had already responded, somewhat grumpily, to criticism that it is doing too little too late, with a ten-fact list setting out its broadband policy and strategy, which dovetails with the German government’s ambition of national availability of 50Mbps broadband access by 2020, and 100Mbps by 2025. Read more of this post

Cost Conundrum as Companies Quit IoT Shows Need for a New Business Model

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

• Cost and higher priorities have led some firms to abandon their IoT plans

• IoT generates a small fraction of operators’ income

New research by GlobalData shows that the companies that give up on their IoT projects do so because they are too expensive to implement (41%), and because their priorities shift (23%). Another 21% found they are too costly to maintain.

GlobalData asked more than 1,000 users worldwide, mostly industrial firms, about their IoT investment intentions. Replies show that getting budget is less of an issue this year than last, suggesting firms are more willing to try out the technology. However, this also led to more projects being abandoned later in the project lifecycle. While most firms kill their IoT projects in the investigation phase, all firms in GlobalData’s 2016 survey pulled the plug at the latest during the pilot stage. This year, 6% abandoned their projects in each of the deployment and post-deployment phases, citing implementation and maintenance costs reasons. Read more of this post

The Detail Devils of the IoT

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

  • The John Deere copyright clause is a stark warning to scrutinize IoT EULAs.
  • Inaction could kill recurring revenue business models for thousands of manufacturers.

Companies looking to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) need to scrutinize their end-user license agreements (EULAs). This follows an attempt by tractor manufacturer John Deere to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), US legislation designed to prevent theft of intellectual property such as videos and music, to force customers to use licensed channels to repair their machines. Read more of this post

Dazed and Confused by IoT Platforms? Help Is on the Horizon, but Buyer Beware

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

  • The IoT M2M Council aims to provide model RFPs and a guide to potential IoT platform vendors.
  • ‘Paying to play’ raises questions over the true value of ‘independent’ platform reports.

Anyone who has to choose a software platform for their company’s grand IoT project should be relieved to know that help is nearly at hand. The London-based IoT M2M Council (IMC) is crowdsourcing from among its members a suite of ‘open source’ RFPs for companies that have to select IoT software platforms. It will also report on how different platforms stack up against the criteria in the model RFPs. IoT buyers will be able to use the RFPs as a template for procurement and the reports to short-list potential suppliers. Read more of this post

Vested Interests Are Delaying the Formation of Critical Mass in the IoT Market

I. Grant

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

  • The cellular industry is scrambling to catch up with LPWA providers, but its solutions are not yet fit for purpose.
  • The jury (a.k.a. software developers and customers) is still out as technology vendors pursue their own agendas.

Leading figures in the LTE supply chain, including chip makers, device makers, equipment vendors and even operators, are following their own agendas. This is creating a kaleidoscopic picture of the IoT wireless access market that inhibits investment.

Driven by the fear of missing out, the cellular phone industry is fighting to get back on terms with suppliers of proprietary low-power, wide-area (LPWA) network access technologies for machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Anyone who needs networks to provide low-cost access and operation to justify their IoT deployments should have regard for the claims and counterclaims made by the various parties. While there is some truth in all the claims, by no means is it the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Read more of this post

Brexit? Keep Calm and Carry On, But Guard Your Wallet

I. Grant

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

• Brexit, if it happens, will take longer than anyone thinks, so don’t panic.

• UK users should prepare for price increases and slower network builds as hedged contracts mature and investment slows.

Two weeks on from the unprecedented decision to quit the EU, a couple of things are clear. As far as the regulatory regime that govern telco behaviour goes, it is business as usual – Brexit talks, if and when they start, will take two years, so regulations like Roam like at Home will come into force from June 2017. Enterprise users can simply carry on. Read more of this post

The Sobering Reality of Unlicensed Spectrum Use is Likely to Give CSPs an IoT Hangover

I. Grant

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

• IT, not communications service providers, are customers’ preferred partners in both enterprise and municipal IoT projects.

• Operators have to expand their skills base and business models to cope with the widespread use of unlicensed spectrum and to stay relevant.

A new Current Analysis report on enterprise IoT has some sobering news for mobile operators that hope to cash in on the hype around IoT. What’s more, the CA findings are backed by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, which has just published a report on telecoms in smart cities. Read more of this post

The Embedded SIM: How It Is Making the Customer King

I. Grant

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

  • The long-term nature of industrial IoT connectivity is forcing carriers to consider the lifetime value of customers and adapt their pricing accordingly.
  • Enterprises are using ‘network unaffiliated virtual operators’ (NUVOs) to disintermediate MNOs and cut costs, and new SIM technology is helping NUVOs to optimize coverage for their customers.

As cloud and IoT become the dominant models for ICT, it is increasingly obvious that the networks are only a means to customers’ ends. Big beasts though they are, telcos are merely part of an ecosystem that supports customers. As such, the lifetime value of a customer who stays inside a telco’s ecosystem is higher than the one who churns after his two-year smartphone contract ends. Smart telcos are changing their business models to reflect this. Read more of this post

Tele2 Hopes to Awe Customers with Virtual Magic, but This Might Not Be Enough

I. Grant

I. Grant

Summary Bullets:

  • Customers should insist operators explain new technology in terms of what they care about.
  • Virtualizing network infrastructure makes it harder to charge extra for mobility support.

Arthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. When it comes to telecommunications, most end users like to keep it that way. Rightly, they care most about what it can do for them, not how it works. Read more of this post