Apr 23, 2013

M2M service provider metrics

This note is part of my occasional series dealing with business metrics for the M2M sector. On this occasion I examine a few operational benchmarks for an M2M service provider. In this case, I have drawn on data for Numerex in the US which is one of a few publicly quoted entities in the M2M market.

Numerex was established in 1992 and has focused on wireless connectivity since 1999 after divesting its wire line business to BT. The company recently passed the 2m connections milestone during Q1-2013. While this connections base is small in relation to the M2M business units of the large mobile operators (many of which fall in roughly the 5–10m range) it serves as a useful reference point for business planning, performance benchmarking and investor due diligence insights. These are highly topical in the present climate where companies are expanding their M2M operations; this earlier post on building a billion dollar M2M business, for example, has been the most read item on this site in recent months.

Apr 16, 2013

Competing for In-Home Services

Late last year, in the course of some project-related research, I took a look at the home security market in the context of 'smart-home' service concepts. Fixed- and mobile-network operators view this as one of several promising market opportunities to offer home automation and home security types of service.

A great deal is made about mobile operators pursuing new opportunities such as these in what are referred to as ‘adjacent markets’. However, it is as well to recognize that incumbent providers from those 'adjacent' markets may also have ambitions of their own in the communications arena.

Apr 9, 2013

IoT Business Models

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to be a stimulus speaker at a New Digital Economics event in San Francisco. I spoke about IoT Business Models during a full day session - entitled Digital Things – which was devoted to new opportunities from the ‘Internet of Things’.

Digital Things ran in parallel to sessions on Digital Commerce and Digital Entertainment so there was definite competition for conference delegates. As a measure of how seriously Silicon Valley is taking the IoT market, the Digital Things session drew by far the largest audience.

Since the IoT market is still comparatively underdeveloped in commercial terms, my presentation focused on lessons learned from the M2M market. In particular, I highlighted several insights from the business strategies that service suppliers and providers are implementing.

Apr 3, 2013

Launch Strategies for Digital Business Units

Among the many announcements and presentations from Mobile World Congress 2013, one that caught my attention came from Matthew Key, the CEO of Telefónica Digital.

In a post-event blog post Key highlighted how the mobile industry is moving beyond the realm of “phone calls and pure connectivity” with particular reference to M2M and mCommerce opportunities. He observed that “Despite the realization by all telcos of the need to become digital to leverage these opportunities, there is a lack of consensus on how to get there. What then is the way forward?” His own position involves “driving open partnerships and using mobile and digital technology to address pressing social needs”. Partnerships, in a variety of forms, is something I have previously described as a key aspect of business model innovation.

Stepping back, however, what are the key characteristics of other mobile operator ‘digital’ initiatives? And, what does this imply as the way forward as other operators strive to become Digital?