Thursday, 24 July 2014

PTC acquires Axeda for USD170m - Machina Research predicted something similar in January

Yesterday PTC announced that it was further bolstering its M2M/IoT credentials by acquiring Axeda for USD170 million. This is hot on the heels of PTC's purchase of IoT platform provider ThingWorx for USD112 million in December 2013.

The idea that the capabilities of an M2M specialist such as Axeda could be combined with the horizontal IoT platform capabilities of ThingWorx, were predicted by Machina Research in our Strategy Report "Competitive Dynamics in the M2M Platform Space" published in January 2014:

"Application Support Platforms (such as Axeda) are likely to be hit hardest by the advent of the M2M/IoT Application Platform. Really, the best way forwards for Application Support platforms will be to secure deals with the likes of companies like ThingWorx so that they can market services as being 'powered by' a company like ThingWorx, or as having 'ThingWorx inside'. Essentially, Application Support platforms will suffer from the lack of scale needed to develop their own M2M/IoT Application Platform capability, whilst facing stiff competition from companies that do leverage M2M/IoT Application Platform capabilities to productise their competing offerings."

"An alternative approach may be for an Application Support platform to position itself as a niche specialist and to partner with a M2M/IoT Application Platform, effectively almost as a channel to market. Such a specialism could either be functional or industry led."

If you would like to know more about our research of M2M/IoT platforms, please contact me.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Comparing and analysing CSPs' strategies for M2M: the results

Every year we at Machina Research undertake a very detailed study of what Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are doing in the world of M2M. This year's study was expanded to 15 CSPs including all the usual suspects (e.g. AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Vodafone etc.). There were a lot of interesting developments. Here are the highlights:

  • Vodafone retained its #1 spot, with AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica making up the top tier of CSPs.
  • Lots of work on collaboration and alliances, both in terms of the established GMA and MWA, as well as more interesting things coming up for Vodafone and the launch of the Bridge M2M Alliance. My view is that these alliances are critical but they'll evolve from being exclusive monolithic organisations to being more complementary, with different CSPs tapping into different groups to support customers.
  • SoftBank is the one-to-watch for the next 12 months. Lots of interesting things to come following the acquisition of Sprint and imminent acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
  • CSPs seem to be gearing up a little more for the Internet of Things. I wrote a little bit about that for M2M Now.

We published a press release last week.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

App enablement, collaboration and internationalisation: the view from CSPs on M2M in 2014

I'm currently going through the fascinating but incredibly extensive process of putting together our annual M2M CSP Benchmarking Report (for details of last year's report take a look at the press release). In brief, the aim is to look at trends and best practice related to M2M for telecoms operators including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Vodafone etc. In all this year we're looking at around 15 carriers, examining their strategy and comparing their capabilities.

It's always interesting to observe the changing strategies over the years, and there are always trends that leap out from doing such an intensive and detailed piece of work. This year is no different. There are a few that really leap out. There is an increasing desire to provide a rich and horizontal application development environment, which could have significant implications for how M2M applications are built and who does that building. Another theme is collaboration between different players, with a more sophisticated channels and partnership strategy being a good manifestation. The third that immediately leaps out is the increasingly international approach being taken, with CSPs finding more and varied ways to extend their footprints beyond their traditional territories.

I don't want to spoil the surprise when the report is out in about 3 weeks, so you'll have to hold on for more details.

Friday, 9 May 2014

If ThingWorx is worth USD112m, how much is Plat-One worth?

It has been well documented that PTC recently spent a large sum (USD112m) on purchasing the IoT platform provider ThingWorx. The logic behind the acquisition is sound. The capabilities that ThingWorx offers will be incredibly valuable to a firm like PTC for whom integrating connectivity will become an essential part of how they do business in future. At Machina Research my colleague Emil Berthelsen published a Research Note on exactly this topic back in January ("ThingWorx develops a model to generate sustainable revenues with PTC").

In the last few weeks I've spent some time speaking with Italian firm AboData about their Plat-One application platform. While the platform is a relatively new one (released in 2011) it is based on decades of managing complex M2M implementations. The company has lots of proof points in terms of deployments across a diverse range of industries including building automation, data centers and smart cities, and is working closely with a number of telcos. So it's enterprise-grade and rigorously tested.

What particularly stands out for me is the platform's ultimate suitability for the internet of things. It is built with scale in mind, for instance including a test environment that can run to multi-million devices. It also focuses on data management, in particular pulling together and integrating multiple data sources. Furthermore the platform tags all data as it is created, effectively encouraging the baking of security and privacy into the application. The platform also includes the ability to discriminate different grades of service. What it lacks today is the sexy mash-up tools and UI that helped ThingWorx to really stand out from the crowd.

An interesting one to watch.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Wyless acquires Aspider M2M

Every so often in the M2M industry one is party to some breaking news. Recently I was compiling some research for the latest edition of M2M Now and interviewing Wyless CEO Dan McDuffie and he shared with me their acquisition of Aspider M2M.

It's a bold move, making an aggressive play to be a global M2M Service Provider. Along with TM Data that Wyless recently acquired in Brazil it gives the company a much more international footprint. And the capabilities that Aspider brings to the table also makes the offering deeper. This is no simple roaming-based global offering. We think the M2M Service Provider market is underserved in Europe, and we know that everyone is M2M is reassessing channels to market. If Wyless, and other M2M Service Providers, can find some competitive differentiator, be it vertical expertise, technology agnosticism, greater client support or whatever, there's good opportunity to out-perform what is a very rapidly growing market.

To read the full interview I recommend you check the M2M Now link. For Machina Research's full views on the acquisition, see my Research Note (log-in required) published yesterday to coincide with the announcement.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Internet of Things World in Palo Alto, June 17-18

At Machina Research we get involved with a lot of conferences and events around the world. I'm particularly looking forward to the Internet of Things World on 17-18 June this year in Palo Alto. I'll be chairing the Smart Cities track and we'll hope to announce some other Machina Research involvement in the coming few weeks. The speaker line-up is looking great, including the inestimable Daniel Obodovski as keynote speaker. Daniel's co-authored book The Silent Intelligence is a seminal book for anyone involved in the IoT.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

LTE to massively shake up the M2M market

Earlier this week Machina Research published a new report on the M2M modules space. The most significant development over the next few years is the impact of LTE. With operators in the US and parts of Asia already committing to move to LTE the writing is on the wall (eventually) for 2G/3G technologies. Ultimately this shift in LTE will permit LTE-only devices which should be relatively cheap. Furthermore, the bandwidth demand of many key sectors, most notably auto, naturally gives LTE a big foot up.

If you want to know more, take a look at our press release, which also has a link to the report.