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?

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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

Do End Users and Service Providers Agree on the Trajectory of M2M?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Every year at its Connexion conference in Boston, Axeda, a provider of cloud-based M2M application solutions, presents an ever-growing scale (now reaching nine levels) that measures the sophistication of M2M solutions, ranging from 1) unconnected to 2) connected, 3) serviceable, 4) intelligent, 5) optimized, 6) differentiated, 7) eco-friendly, 8) collaborative/socialized/multivendor, and 9) cross-industry solutions.  Each year, Axeda adds new levels.
  • Axeda also showcased several end users’ actual M2M deployments.  Where were they on this scale and can we deduce anything about the current trajectory of M2M from these real-world case studies?

End users at the Axeda Connexion conference included Getinge Group, which provides hospital systems, extended care and infection control.  In 2003, the company envisioned a system to provide a service for remote monitoring of its equipment, but it ran into technology and regulatory challenges along the way and had difficulty building a model that made the ROI self-evident.  Eventually, the company connected the end customer (hospital) though a web portal and smartphone app, offering a value prop of unprecedented knowledge via online troubleshooting, access to historical data and statistics for production planning, and real-time equipment status.  It was in production in 2011; as of 2012, it still found take-up slow among its customers, especially in low-cost labor countries that did not ‘get’ the value prop.  In the future, it plans to add data mining.  Overall, it took Getinge eight years to get to the ‘connected,’ ‘serviceable’ and ‘intelligent’ stages – essentially reaching level 4 (out of 9) on the Axeda model. Read more of this post

The Intersection of Cloud and M2M Will Help Create the “Internet of Things”

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • “Cloud” means all things to all people, but for M2M, and especially for its larger cousin, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud services are taking on an increasingly important role.
  • Clouds will be necessary to store and analyze machine data, to allow connected devices to talk to each other and share data, and to be easily updated and managed. This larger view of the IoT, rather than the stodgier and more limited M2M market, is key to the vision leading to the 20- 50 billion (some say trillions) of connected devices in many IoT forecasts.

A lot of M2M vendors and enterprises are starting to forego the use of the word M2M and are replacing it with IoT, implying a much bigger set of “things” that will all be connected to the Internet (and to each other) using every available fixed and wireless access technology. To get to this larger market, cloud services are critical, because a secure, reliable infrastructure is necessary to manage the connection and interconnection of all of these things, as well as their ability to be updated and managed and their ability to communicate with each other and with humans who need to interact with them or want to use their data. Read more of this post

M2M Check-In: Are We There Yet?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Operators are seeing average annual growth rates in M2M connections of about 20-30%, with new customers evenly distributed among diverse vertical solutions.  UBI and asset tracking solutions are gaining steam, with healthcare and energy management solutions also becoming a source of new ‘wins.’  Although automotive telematics wins are being announced, most of the actual connections associated with them are poised for growth in 2014/2015, when the auto OEMs launch their new ‘next-generation’ models.
  • IT service providers are playing both sides by partnering with and empowering operators to offer end-to-end solutions and going directly to enterprises through their vertical practice groups.  Automotive, utility/smart grid and smart-city deployments, which require multiple network technologies, complex integration and data analytics, are focus areas.

It is difficult to assess traction quantitatively in the M2M market since not all operators are citing numbers of connections these days (let alone revenues or numbers of customers), but Current Analysis estimates that, by the end of 2012, Telefonica had grown its M2M connections to 7.5 million, up from 6.6 million; AT&T had grown to 14.2 million, up from 13.2 million; Vodafone had grown to 9.7 million, up from 7 million; and Orange had grown to 3 million active SIMs, up from 2.5 million active SIMs, plus another 4.8 million SIMs sold by the International M2M Center (IMC) to MNCs, up from the 1.5 million SIMs sold by the IMC in 2011.  Verizon, Sprint and Deutsche Telekom have not reported their numbers for 2012.  In addition, of the 13 publicly announced new M2M ‘wins’ among these operators since January 2012, two were for UBI, two were in healthcare, three were for asset tracking, four were in automotive, one was in energy management and one was in industrial monitoring/control.  This is not a highly scientific ‘study,’ since many wins are not announced at all, but it does show general trends pertaining to growth of connections (which averaged 20-30% in 2012) and to the vertical distribution of current M2M deals.  In general, forecasts of the total number of cellular M2M connections worldwide for 2013 are in the 180-200 million range. 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