Mar 1, 2012

Origins of "More With Mobile"

In 2008, the mobile industry started to pay serious attention to new types of connected device. Amazon's Kindle played an important role in this process. Unlike the traditional M2M market, the Kindle was the first mass-market device with embedded connectivity. 

The Kindle also introduced a new payment model to the industry in the form of a $9.99 charge to download an eBook. At that time, mobile operators were selling airtime plans for data cards and USB dongles to a consumer base that had little notion of how many mega-bytes they needed on a monthly basis. 

In a similar vein, mobile operator executives were intrigued by another company - Cardionet - which offered a remote patient monitoring service. The fact that the company earned over $2,000 per month for each connected device was another attention grabber in a mobile market where average mobile phone ARPUs were closer to $50/month.

These two connected device designs actually delivered an elegant service that masked a great deal of technical complexity. They exemplify the revolution that was about to transform the traditional M2M market. 

Since 2008, the mobile industry has journeyed along the connected devices highway. Initially, the focus was on embedded mobility and measures to bring down the cost of integrating mobility in new and existing devices. Opportunities to apply mobile connectivity in different vertical markets such as automotive, healthcare, smart cities and utilities shifted the market focus on 'Connected Experiences'. Now, the proliferation of different types of wireless devices using technologies such as mobile, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee etc. is shifting industry attention to the Internet of Things market. 

I have been involved in the growth of this industry since its inception having contributed to a strategy project that was initiated by the Board of the GSM Association to identify new growth markets for the mobile industry. Most of my current work is for companies that are developing their business plans to launch new services in this market. I advise on strategy, market analysis and business model issues. And, as more and more companies factor connectivity in their business, product and service strategies it will become evident that they will accomplish a great deal more with mobile.