Plumbing or solutions?

March 6, 2014

PipesDevice connectivity platforms for mobile operators have been discussed for years. There have been two primary platforms on the market – Ericsson and Jasper – with Ericsson more focused on the ability for the operator to manage M2M business efficiently and Jasper having been more focused on adding solution partners to their platform thus to their mobile operator customers. Up until now most mobile operators have had one of these platforms and in many cases an in-house alternative somewhere. But at MWC Telenor Connexion announced that they add Jasper to their Ericsson platform (once acquired from Connexion). According to Per Simonsson, CEO at Telenor Connexion: “Deploying services from the two leading platform providers ensures greater flexibility and enables us to collaborate with new partners and operators in global deployments“. I believe Telenor Connexion has a clever long-term strategy to become technology agnostic when it comes to platforms and bearer technologies in order to get a strong position for global business and to become flexible in supporting customer’s changing needs over time.

This announcement caused some stress here and there since some operators used the situation of being the only Jasper customer in a market as a differentiator. This is of course not a sustainable way to create a position in a market and it was only a matter of time until the opportunity would have been gone anyway.

I have always argued that mobile operators should refrain from a GSM-only approach in M2M and that they should be aware that Jasper’s business model is quite comparable with an MVNO from the operator’s point of view: The operator get some additional traffic but might loose the relationships with partners and customers and once and for all become a pure connectivity provider. Nothing necessarily wrong with that but most mobile operators active in M2M state that they don’t want to become just a connectivity provider. Yesterday I read that Jasper is launching the world’s first commercial end-to-end Global SIM product based on Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) technology. It’s is aimed at the IoT market and will allow enterprises to remotely manage embedded SIMs over the air (OTA).

The ability to change operator over-the-air is a necessity in M2M and I saw a GSMA demo at MWC 2012 demonstrating this. Mobile operators who don’t have the ability to go down the verticals and applications in M2M thus “outsource” partnership and business development, might be stuck with plumbing when the OTA provisioning is in place. I see only two main roads ahead for operators (including the M2M MVNOs): invest and get engaged in applications, solutions and verticals or provide the connectivity. And anyone getting involved in applications and solution, service enablers or operators, need to use a connectivity agnostic approach like Telenor Connexion.

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Mobile World Congress 2012

March 5, 2012

Mobile World Congress 2012 is over and to me it was a busy congress without any exciting major themes or news. Nobody is using Bluetooth headsets any longer, most exhibitors used apps on pads and smartphones to visualize what they deliver and the expected grand return of Nokia never happened. Among the most interesting things were Mozilla’s Open Web Devices – a mobile open source os built-in html5 – and Wireless Power Consortium with their prototypes.

M2M was presented, discussed and promoted almost everywhere but it was more the presence of M2M at the congress than what was demonstrated that made impact on me. Once again there was a Connected House filled up with consumer products connected to Internet and a couple of cars outside. The Embedded SIM was demonstrated by GSMA in partnership with Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient and it was cool to see over the air provisioning of operator credentials in action. This ability to change mobile operator over the air will make life easier for owners of M2M installations and vendors of connected things.

The take-a-way from MWC 2012 was the M2M momentum in the industry. Nothing surprising yet good to see. I heard statements like “M2M is one of the few growth areas we are investing in” over and over again during the week. It feels like M2M is here to stay now.


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