Feb 8, 2015

IoT Roaming

The mobile industry and users of its services are very familiar with the concept of roaming. Roaming allows users to access mobile services outside their home-operator’s footprint. Most users are familiar with roaming in the context of foreign travel. Roaming also occurs when users cannot access their service provider network at home and need to ‘roam’ onto other, local service-provider networks.

M2M service providers and IoT technology developers are now beginning to think about new service scenarios where ‘foreign’ devices enter a local operating environment; I have been using the term ‘IoT roaming’ to describe this situation. There are several reasons why IoT roaming is important, and different compared to traditional ‘roaming’. This is because IoT applications need the ability to recognize and inter-operate with roaming devices. There are knock-on implications for service provider business models and the platform capabilities needed to support IoT applications.

Jan 4, 2015

2014 Corporate Initiatives; market rules are changing

Following several years of rapid growth, the 141 corporate initiatives in 2014 almost matched the 147 events that occurred in 2013.

In 2014, companies in the M2M eco-system were less active in several areas. As illustrated below, there were fewer recorded events of companies either: expanding into new market segments; promoting new technology; and, entering into partnering agreements. Product innovation saw a rise in activity as companies launched new products and services. In general, these addressed the needs for specific customer applications.


Dec 21, 2014

A stellar approach to IoT

The IoT market can seem overwhelming because of the multitude of use cases and novelty connected devices that capture the news headlines. It’s a bit like looking at the stars on a clear night; each star stands for an individual connected device.

Faced with so much choice, a natural reaction is to look for concentrations of stars or orderly clusters. This is much the same way that ancient astrologers discerned constellations, such as Orion, Hercules and Ursa Major, in the night sky. This is also the way that many companies approach the IoT market, targeting opportunities in the modern day equivalent of ‘clusters’ that characterise our everyday lives. Examples include the connected car, manufacturing supply chains and smart homes. Within any one of these areas, applications typically focus on point-solutions: in-car Internet access; or, vehicle security services; or even remote monitoring for usage based insurance

Is this the best way to assess the underlying IoT opportunity?

Nov 11, 2014

Business innovation at IoT speed

Having worked on the topic of M2M value chain structures in 2012, a couple of relevant market developments caught my attention over the past few weeks. These involve: Aeris, an M2M service provider, Cisco, and Deutsche Telekom.

Each of these company initiatives aims to simplify the process of implementing M2M and IoT applications. They provide guidance to (non-technical) companies that are seeking to implement M2M solutions while also providing an organising structure for complex application situations. These examples hold lessons that companies can apply to improve their sales performance in M2M and IoT markets.

Oct 3, 2014

Long term prospects for IoT and 'digital'

Last month, I was invited to chair a panel for the eponymously named company, Apigee. Although it was billed as an API event, Chet Kapoor (Apigee’s CEO) opened the 2-day conference by framing today’s market in terms of the transition to ‘digital’, with APIs being a key implementation enabler. His opening remarks summarised the situation as follows:

  • Every business is a digital business
  • Every business needs a digital platform
  • Every business has a Chief Digital Officer 

In the past, I have written on the topic of telecoms operators launching ‘digital’ strategies [1]. It was therefore reassuring to hear this development being so firmly validated. It was also positive to witness several enterprises discuss their digital strategies and early implementation successes.

As the market develops, enterprise demand will continue to drive demand for enabling services. These are opportunities that telecoms operators and specialist M2M/IoT platform providers can capitalise upon. There is early evidence of this trend in the recent investment activities of companies like SingTel and Telstra.

Sep 19, 2014

Pricing M2M to drive sales revenues

Over the past few years, technology suppliers and service providers have become increasingly optimistic about the market prospects for M2M. Much of this is attributable to the promise of multi-billion unit sales as yesteryear’s M2M sector is absorbed into today’s, broader IoT classification.

M2M has broken out of its historical, niche thanks to a shared industry vision to evangelize the M2M opportunity. Return-on-Investment (RoI) arguments for M2M applications have no doubt been persuasive in fostering the adoption of new applications. However, two other developments have arguably had a greater influence over adoption and RoI outcomes. One is the introduction of simpler, standard operational procedures tailored to M2M (e.g. life-cycle provisioning). The second is the year-on-year reduction in hardware and connectivity costs which have resulted in lower prices to customers.

There is a risk however that these developments and the price-led strategy, in particular, will pose a longer term threat to existing M2M business strategies.

Aug 3, 2014

Do consumers trust mobile operators, Internet and media companies?

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) in the UK recently launched its findings from a survey [1] of the UK population. The study examined the attitudes of individuals towards the use of (their) data and the appeal of data sharing. The study is based on a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI for the RSS and covered adults in the ages 16 to 75 age range in Great Britain.

The RSS study found that media, Internet, telecommunications and insurance companies, all come at the bottom of a ‘trust in data’ league table. Is any of this relevant to companies in the M2M and IoT markets?