Sep 25, 2013

Managing M2M inside an MNO

France’s Orange has a long history in the M2M market and was one of the early pioneers in establishing an M2M competence centre, leveraging the deep expertise of its M2M team, notably in the Belgian market. It was therefore interesting to see Orange Business Services’ announcement of a strategic partnership to use Ericsson’s Device Connection Platform (DCP).

Orange has operating companies in several different countries and is also a partner with Deutsche Telekom in the UK’s Everything Everywhere. Orange is separately a partner with Deutsche Telekom, TeliaSonera and Telecom Italia in the Global M2M Association. In light of these different constituents, one interpretation of the Orange/Ericsson partnership is as a neutral platform that many, if not all, of the M2M operating businesses can buy into.

If this is indeed the strategy, it would shift the responsibility for coordinating multiple platforms, capabilities and expertise onto Ericsson. Channel and account management responsibilities would then more naturally fall on to individual operating businesses.

To get a sense of the coordination challenges and operational complexities that arises in enterprise-grade and multi-platform environments, it is instructive to look at another company, Telefónica.

Sep 5, 2013

Smart Home Platform Innovator Strategies

Early in 2012, I completed a study for the GSM Association (GSMA) on the topic of new business models that would be linked to innovative, connected-device applications. This study laid out a sequence of value propositions, as companies seek to move up the value chain. In order to bring these new value propositions to market, new and innovative business models would need to be designed.

In the early days of M2M, the value proposition was all about connectivity. This would make stand-alone devices ‘smart’ and the business challenge was largely about how connectivity could be ‘embedded’ inexpensively. Later on, the market evolved as companies started to care about deployment, reliability and the user-experience issues. This ushered in a new value proposition around managed connectivity and several specialist platform providers have emerged in their own right or as partners to mobile operators.

The final two sources of value that were identified included the delivery of ‘platform innovator’ and ‘stewardship’ services. The connected devices market has been moving in these directions with three companies – Arrayent, Deutsche Telekom’s Qivicon and Zonoff – investing their energies in the platforms arena.