Friday, 21 October 2011

Telstra announces M2M matchmaking service

Australian MNO Telstra has established a service to allow potential customers for M2M services to find service providers who can meet their needs. Article here. This is a similar approach to that announced by Deutsche Telekom a few weeks ago. I think we always realised that the role of the MNO in the M2M world was that of enabler, allowing partners provide the application- or vertical-specific expertise. At least for the next 4-5 years. This is just another manifestation of that role of enabler. And the MNOs can make a bit of money through matchmaking the other parts of the value chain. I've been told about a few other similar schemes that will be launched soon by other major MNOs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

M2M announcements galore: Telefonica agreement with China Unicom, MTN launches telemetry unit and Vimpelcom opens M2M management centre

Blimey. Lots of M2M-related announcements recently.

Telefonica has announced an agreement with #2 Chinese carrier China Unicom to collaborate "along the entire value chain, from the development of standards to the joint development of end to end M2M vertical products and the commercialisation of solutions". Press release here. An interesting move from Telefonica following their recent M2M tie-up with Etisalat that I blogged about back in July. Yet more evidence that MNOs are seeking to form global blocs to take advantage of the M2M opportunities which are, to a large degree, global.

African MNO MTN will be focusing a lot more attention on telemetry as a strong growth opportunity. Coverage of this on M2M World News here, including an interesting stat on Vodacom's 700,000 M2M connections. Based on the work that we at Machina Research have done this is largely around stolen vehicle tracking in South Africa, covered in our report Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication in the Automotive Sector 2010-20.

Not to be ignored, Russia's Vimpelcom has launched an M2M management centre. OK, so this was news from last week but I'm only just picking it up. Very brief details here.

So it seems that everyone is interested in getting in on the M2M act. Understandable given that it's a EUR714 billion opportunity globally by 2020, with 12 billion connections, as described by Machina Research only last week. Those figures are based on our recently completed Connected Intelligence forecast database which provides 10 year forecasts across 54 countries and 60 applications for connections, revenue and traffic. We think it's the most comprehensive set of data on the emerging M2M market opportunity. If you'd like to know more about how you can get access to the database, send me an email.

The announcements show that MNOs are rightly realising that M2M is not just about carrying more data traffic (of which there won't be much). It's about adding value, so all this interest in competence centres and focusing on solutions is the right approach. In November Machina Research will be publishing our M2M CSP Benchmarking Report examining the capabilities of the major M2M service providers and identifying their capabilities across different sectors and geographies. Based on this we will be able to identify for each potential end customer who the best M2M option would be. We will also be able to identify who we expect to be the most successful M2M players in the next 10 years. Get in contact if you'd be interested to know more.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Telefonica O2 secures EV charging deal

O2 has signed a deal to provide M2M connectivity to Chargemaster's POLAR network of UK network of electric vehicle (EV) charging points. All the details of the story are here.

EV charging is one of the categories of M2M communications covered in our report Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication in the Utilities Sector 2010-20. Globally we predict that there will be over one million EV charging M2M connections by 2020, up from just a few thousand today. Since they'll often be clustered we're not expecting one connection per charging point though. So the total number of charging points will be much higher than that.

In terms of technology, we are expecting cellular technologies to dominate EV charging points globally. It is easier to deploy and more secure. This differs from Smart Metering (the other major utilities segment) where we mostly expect powerline and community WiFi to dominate, although not in the UK.

The growth of electric vehicles will be a major stimulus to M2M for reasons that I've laid out in a previous blogpost. Not least the need to know where the nearest charging point is. Electric vehicles are necessarily much more integrated into a centralised system than petrol cars due to the dependence on recharging. This is exactly where M2M comes into its own: where a network of distributed items need to communicate in real time with each other and with a centralised system.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Machina Research identifies EUR1.3 trillion opportunity for connected devices and uses forecasts to support GSMA's Connected Life launch

So it's been a very busy couple of weeks. We've been focused on two main things. First of all completing our Connected Intelligence database, which we now believe is the most comprehensive forecast database for M2M connections, traffic, revenue splits, technology etc.

Secondly we've been doing a lot of work to use our data to support the GSMA's new Connected Life programme. Jim is over in San Diego at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications show and yesterday shared a platform with AT&T, Qualcomm and the GSMA to announce the launch. If you want to know more about Connected Life, click here.

Clearly to support an initiative that is as far-reaching as that envisaged by the GSMA requires a partner that understands how connectivity will affect every aspect of work and home life. We have that understanding and we have the forecasts to back it up.

Over the next week or so I'll be highlighting some of the figures that are coming out of our newly completed forecast database. Some have already been released as Machina Research press releases. In the meantime, I will flag up the following:

  • Overall connected devices will treble over the next ten years, from 9 billion in 2011 to 24 billion in 2020.

  • The lion’s share of the growth will come from machine-to-machine connections , which will grow from two billion at the end of 2011 to 12 billion at the end of 2020. The majority are expected to be connected via short-range technologies such as WiFi. Machina Research expects 2.3 billion will be cellular connections in 2020, accounting for 19% of all cellular connections. Overall M2M revenue will grow to EUR714 billion in 2020.

  • PC/laptop mobile broadband will grow dramatically, from 215 million connections at the end of 2011 to 1.5 billion in 2020 as device costs come down and network coverage and capacity improves. By 2020 most PC/laptop broadband connections globally will be mobile. Wireless wide-area connected tablets and eReaders will grow from 66 million in 2011 to 230 million in 2020.

  • Growth in handset data users will also be significant, with 3G+ (i.e. 3G, 4G and potentially beyond) devices set to grow from 2 billion at the end of 2011 to 9 billion by 2020.

  • The growth in PC/laptop, tablet and handset data usage will result in a massive increase in data. Machina Research forecasts that globally mobile data traffic will increase from 4 exabytes in 2011 to 42 exabytes in 2020, with 60% coming from PC/laptop connections and 37% from handsets.

  • Total revenue from connected devices will grow from EUR420 billion in 2010 to EUR1.3trillion in 2020. Machina Research expects mobile network operator data revenue to grow from EUR130 billion in 2011 to almost EUR500 billion in 2020.

For more details on everything to do with Machina Research, see our website.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Living PlanIT: Now that's what I call M2M

As I mentioned in my blogpost yesterday, I was over in Rotterdam last week speaking at DTAG's M2M partner event. As well as presenting some of Machina Research's M2M forecasts I also got to see some interesting presentations.

First up on Wednesday morning was Steve Lewis of Living PlanIT. Steve's a true visionary in M2M and some of the things they're doing are truly astounding. Take a look at their website for more details. If even half of the things that they're planning for future urban developments in places like PlanIT Valley in Portugal or North Greenwich come to fruition then we really are heading for a phenomenally connected world.

Their perspective is that as urban development occurs it should go hand-in-hand with deploying M2M. One eye-catching reference was to the presence of sensors every square meter. Not application-specific sensors, but ones that could be used for multiple applications be it child tracking, public transport, logistics or whatever. The city of the future indeed.

I would wax more lyrical about what they're up to, but instead I'd just advocate you take a look at their site or check out some of Steve's presentations on YouTube.

Monday, 3 October 2011

DTAG puts M2M partners front and centre

I spent a big portion of last week over in Rotterdam at the Deutsche Telekom M2M Partner Event. It was great to see so many of the parts of the M2M value chain all in once place. The big announcement from the event was the launch of DTAG's new partner portal. Press release here.

It was evident from the event that DTAG is taking its partnership arrangements very seriously. As I mentioned in my presentation at the event, the M2M value chain is complex and fragmented because it needs to be. It's a very diverse market and it needs specialist skills to properly address the specific requirements of each vertical sector. DTAG recognises that and understands that to be effective it needs the best partners.

Even more than that it has recognised that it can help bring together the various parts of the market from vendors to service providers worldwide to help drive the success of M2M (and maybe make a bit of money as an intermediary in the process).

One of the key elements of the new portal is to allow (and I quote) "partners, regardless of their company size and country of origin, an opportunity to present their M2M applications to providers of hardware, software and service, systems-integration and end-to-end solutions worldwide and to market these applications globally". Since devices and solutions are today quite national, it will help numerous companies to be able to promote their products and services.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Everything Everywhere M2M announcement is puzzling

UK mobile network operators (and T-Mobile/Orange joint venture) Everything Everywhere made a fairly big splash announcement last week about how it hoped to realise its M2M ambitions.

Press release here.

What puzzles me about this is not that EE would have pretensions in the M2M market, it's that it's decided to do so via a proprietary platform developed in conjunction with European MVNE Transatel. It seems increasingly evident to me that only the biggest of MNOs can survive with their own proprietary platform. It's just not a sensible option for a single country operator to build their own. They just don't have the scale to keep up with the big boys. Therefore the only assumption is that Transatel has some kind of pretensions at being a regional or global platform provider in the M2M space. However, I just can't see them being able to keep up with the more established non-proprietary platforms, such as from Jasper or Ericsson. These folks either have pedigree (in terms of existing customers) or scale.

As for the announcement that EE has signed a deal with telematics provider Redtail Telematics, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the exact details are. Not least because neither Redtail, nor its partner company Plextek, has seen fit to put out a press release on their website setting out their perspective on the deal. It looks to me like Plextek is a mid-sized UK telematics company (and there's nothing wrong with that!) that happens to have a partnership with Redtail, who have 5 million telematics SIMs. I can't help feeling EE might be overblowing this deal. I suspect it's not a deal for EE to manage 5 million global telematics SIMs. I'm waiting to hear from EE though.

In November Machina Research will be publishing its M2M benchmarking report, comparing major CSPs in terms of their capabilities in M2M. In that we'll be focusing a lot of attention on platforms both proprietary and non-proprietary.