Mobile Operator M2M App Development Strategies

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile operators do not usually build M2M apps from scratch. Building custom solutions is expensive, doesn’t scale and is not really in most operators’ set of core competencies.
  • So how do operators ensure a robust portfolio of M2M solutions across multiple verticals and use cases?

We asked several mobile operators about their M2M application development strategies and partner ecosystems – do they have a formal program to find and seed ecosystem partners? How many partners and what kind of partners have they brought in? How successful have they been with their approach?

Read more of this post

U.S. Mobile Operators Fall into Two Camps, Relating to Target Segment

  • Kathryn Weldon

    Kathryn Weldon

    After completing our bi-annual set of enterprise mobility briefings from the four major U.S. mobile operators, it is clear to Current Analysis that they are separating into two “camps”

  • AT&T and Verizon (while also having SMB and mid-market product strategies) have their eyes primarily focused on the enterprise, and increasingly, the MNC; Sprint and T-Mobile may dabble a bit in all segments, but now state overtly that their sweet spot is the SMB and mid-market customer

All four major U.S. mobile operators can theoretically attract business customers of all sizes and verticals, including MNCs with U.S. operations. While perhaps it has been obvious all along, however, Sprint and T-Mobile are now very clearly stating that they are really targeting the SMB and mid-market customer. They may attract an enterprise here and there but these deals are more opportunistic. Making this clearer is actually helpful – it is not fair to judge Sprint and T-Mobile against AT&T and Verizon for successfully drawing a large enterprise or MNC customer base. Sprint and T-Mobile lack not only the fixed line infrastructure (although Sprint still has a global MPLS network and offers U.S. wireline services such as Ethernet and IP VPNs) but they lack the resources relating to large managed and professional services groups, significant hosting infrastructure, global sales personnel, giant global data centers, managed security services, deep vertical expertise, consulting etc.). In fact Sprint and T-Mobile are proud of this positioning. T-Mobile’s disruptive ‘Un-carrier’ strategy centers around the shaking up of the industry with programs that include the removal of annual contracts, the end of global roaming charges, free tablet data, paid-off ETFs from other carriers, and a growing set of innovative price plans and services. Both Sprint and T-Mobile still offer unlimited data plans and Sprint is building out not only 4G LTE, but its own superfast version that leverages its three spectrum bands. Read more of this post

Oh, You Tease, You: Vodafone Provides a Glimpse into Its Asia-Pacific Enterprise Goals

itcblog-dillonSummary Bullets:

  • Vodafone has demonstrated a clear intent for its enterprise and carrier services groups and is seeking to combine a strong wireless position (solutions, M2M, security and analytics) with on-net fixed line services, data centers and cloud solutions.  The logic is sound; however, the execution and deployment tactics for Asia-Pacific are less clear (outside of executive management).
  • The complexity of integrations (C&WW) into its network operations as well as the broader spread of wireless partners for solutions delivery across Asia-Pacific creates a potentially unwieldy mass in the short term.  Brand recognition too in many Asia Pacific markets is not as robust as compared to Europe, India and, dare I say it, Australia.  All three sides of the triangle – infrastructure, services and go-to-market activities – will require intense execution focus to ensure Spring does not turn to a Winter of (Customer) Discontent.

Over two days in London in November 2013, Vodafone laid out its plans for future growth in its enterprise and carrier services groups.  A common mantra over multiple presentations invoked the importance of both Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa to the group’s future success.  Both regions were highlighted as key priorities and investment points of focus as the company aims to present VGE as an integrator of communications networks by 2017.  The operator is building capabilities around its Vodafone Red mobile tariffs, the HCS-based Vodafone One Net for Global Enterprise, Microsoft Lync, network services, M2M and hosting solutions (both data centers and cloud-based contact centers). Read more of this post

MPOS in Asia: The Move from Niche to Mainstream Has Begun

Tim Dillon

Tim Dillon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile payments have failed thus far to reach their full potential as a transaction option for consumers – principally due to fragmentation in payment options and a lack of strong trusted service managers (TSMs) to broker services delivery between all parties.
  • Mobile penetration in Asia has continued to grow dramatically, and recent intra-region payment initiatives, specifically via China Mobile, Korea Telecom and NTT DoCoMo, should accelerate adoption of mobile payments and create a MPOS market of approximately $500 billion (USD) by 2017 across Asia-Pacific.

Along with its cousin, NFC, mobile payment solutions have been the long-promised answer to an issue without a question.  The technology has been available for quite some time and those of us that are of a more mature (ahem, read old) generation fondly recollect the early mobile payment solutions of the late 1990s.  Adoption, however, has been slow, and for many consumers, there is uncertainty as to why mobile payment solutions are necessary. Read more of this post

Live from Orange Business Services’ Analyst Event

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Orange Business Services’ annual analyst event, held in Paris July 9-10, offered high-level positioning and insights into key services, strategies and plans.
  • Orange Business Services detailed successes and challenges, and provided information in areas including managed mobility, global partnerships and M2M.

Day 1: New Orange Business Services CEO Thierry Bonhomme provided perspective on areas of progress over the past year, as well as the challenges faced by Orange and other European service providers in a difficult economic climate. Bonhomme identified strategic areas of focus for the company such as cloud services, its Workspace as a Service initiatives, and M2M. He also identified several new partnerships (with Tangoe for managed mobility, Streetline for Smart City initiatives, and Akamai for content data management). This was followed by a discussion on current and future network services, and customized one-on-one discussions (in this case focused on enterprise mobility and M2M). Read more of this post

Mobilizing Companies in Asia-Pacific: A Look into the Enterprise Mind

Tim Dillon

Tim Dillon

Summary Bullets:

  • BYOD is a distraction that prevents companies from thinking clearly about mobility.  Companies seeking to drive benefits from mobility within the organization are those that have moved beyond the ‘which device are you using?’ discussion.  Instead, the ones creating efficiencies, competitive advantage and positive change are those that have concentrated on mobilizing business processes – sales, marketing, suppliers, internal communications and executives.
  • Organisations still struggle with business cases for mobility; for many, the starting point has been a CEO lasciviously fondling an iPad and wanting to use it at work.  For an effective mobility deployment, companies need to create employee profiles, risk assessments and use-case scenarios that are holistic in nature and span devices, policy, infrastructure, applications and security.

As Advisory Analyst in Asia-Pacific to the Enterprise Mobility Exchange, I had the pleasure of chairing the two-day inaugural Asia-Pacific event held in Singapore during April 2013.  This post attempts to capture the key areas of discussion and highlight important takeaways for all IT managers struggling with the challenges of mobility. Read more of this post

NII to Cede Peru Operations to Entel, Consolidating Around Brazil and Mexico Core Markets

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • NII selling its Peru holdings could help fund investments to become a major cellular competitor in Brazil and Mexico.
  • Mexico and Brazil are extremely competitive markets; still, the long-running wireless demand boom could help lift NII’s prospects.

On April 4, regional Latin America wireless specialist Nextel International (NII) announced that it was selling off its wholly owned Nextel Peru subsidiary to Chile’s incumbent provider Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel). The purchase price is expected to be US$400 million when the transaction completes in H2 2013. NII will continue to compete with its existing wireless services in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Read more of this post

Dreams of Spain: Predictions for MWC 2013

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Last year, the major enterprise mobility themes at MWC could be divided into two broad categories: how to cope (and even thrive) in a BYOD world and how to make money out of M2M devices and services.
  • It is no real surprise, but to a great extent, these are still going to be key themes at this year’s show.  How have the enterprise mobility and M2M ecosystems evolved in the interim?

MWC is coming soon and the mobile ecosystem once again gets to show off its shiny new wares.  Aside from mobile devices, infrastructure enhancements, and new apps, even the enterprise mobility vendors and service providers get to show off new software capabilities and services.  These are generally focused on enabling companies to leverage the power of mobility more productively (and with less angst).  While last year’s show focused on the tablet revolution, BYOD, and the rise of MDM, vendors are now going to the next step, offering a broader ‘enterprise mobility management’ portfolio instead, which may encompass MDM, MAM, mobile security, identity management, virtualization, containerization, dual persona solutions, enterprise app stores, mobile content management, application enablement and delivery, and app-level security.  They are making these options available via the cloud or on-premises to offer diverse business models.  As no vendor wants to remain only a niche player, many are offering features beyond their original set of capabilities, either by partnering, acquiring, or developing their own solutions.  MWC is going to include a lot of portfolio repositioning by vendors and their carrier and IT service provider channel partners to encompass all of these diverse capabilities.  The questions remain:  Should they all try to offer the same elements (and if so, where will differentiation be established)?  Can they all pull it off? Read more of this post

Consumer Telematics Show Focuses on Opportunities and Obstacles for Connected Car

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Consumer telematics (aka the connected car) is an exciting market, as auto OEMs are associating new infotainment and safety applications with their brands and experimenting with different subscription models.
  • Mobile operators have a huge stake in this market as they have an opportunity not only to increase connections but to participate in the larger value chain that includes embedded modems and smartphone integration, along with sales, marketing, subscriptions/service enablement, support, content delivery, and consulting and integration services.

The Consumer Telematics Show (CTS 2013) in Las Vegas on January 7 brought together the unique ecosystem that is delivering solutions for the connected car market, including auto manufacturers, chip and module manufacturers, operators, integrators, and content providers. While there is a lot of excitement about the opportunity, there also remain challenges: Read more of this post

‘Live’ from CTIA: Day One at MobileCon

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • MobileCon (née CTIA Wireless) 2012 is nearly half over, and while it is by far the smallest Fall CTIA show yet, the major vendors in the enterprise mobility ecosystem showed up to demo their wares, hold informational sessions, and talk to the analyst community.  There has even been a sprinkling of announcements.
  • While the fate of the show itself may be in doubt, the growth of both the overall enterprise mobility market and the M2M segment in particular is apparent.  The usual suspects (operators, mobile device management/mobile application management vendors, smartphone manufacturers, m-health providers, UC enablers, mobile application ISVs, systems integrators, and M2M aggregators and technology suppliers) are all here.  So, what were some of the major announcement from Day One?

Sierra Wireless announced a major new partner, Amazon Web Services, which will be providing Sierra customers with its cloud-based infrastructure on which to run their M2M applications.  The Sierra AirVantage cloud (which provides asset, data, and device management) has been integrated with Amazon’s service to provide a joint offer for building and deploying M2M applications with no IT infrastructure costs. Read more of this post