Friday, 23 December 2011

Telit acquires Navman

After the earlier news this week that Gemalto (which owns Cinterion) was buying SensorLogic, another traditional M2M module vendor has expanded its capabilities as Telit acquires Navman Wireless's GPS business. Press release here.

In a market where differentiation is increasingly difficult and increasingly necessary this gives Telit another capability to weave into their modules. The combination of GPS and WWAN is critical for some applications and it will be interesting to see where they go with it.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

M2M SDP updates: Hong Kong CSL picks Jasper, Swisscom says nothing new (although they have some big news to tell!) and Gemalto aquires SensorLogic

Lots of updates in the M2M SDP world over the last couple of days. First up were a couple of announcements about CSPs signing deals with platform providers. Hong Kong CSL has done a deal with Jasper. Perhaps it was inevitable given that parent company Telstra is already a Jasper partner, but kudos to Jasper for expanding their footprint again. It's an important one this, as CSL is in an excellent position to help companies get into China. I was chatting with CSL's Stephen Tang at Mobile Asia Congress last month and it seems like CSL can really act as a bridgehead as they understand the territory and benefit from superior roaming rates in China.

Second piece of news is about Swisscom. There has been a something-and-nothing news story around in the last couple of days about how they're planning on doing more business in M2M. There are a few mildly interesting datapoints about how they've seen 10% growth in demand for M2M SIMs in Q4 2011 and how they're expecting 100 million machines connected over their cellular network in the long term. Machina Research estimates that there will be about 10 million cellular M2M devices in Switzerland by 2020, up from about 300,000 at the end of 2010 (Source: Machina Research's Connected Intelligence Forecast Database, 2011). What's interesting is that this "news" comes at a time when there actually is something interesting for Swisscom to announce: the selection of an M2M device connection platform. I won't spoil the surprise by telling you who. I guess they weren't quite ready to make the announcement and had time booked with journos so they filled it. Anyway, the thing that wasn't reported is good news for the platform provider.

The other platform-type news was that Gemalto has agreed to acquire stricken SDP SensorLogic. This is another example of integration in the M2M value chain, in this case vertical. By acquiring SensorLogic, Gemalto will bolster its SIM, device management and modules (Cinterion) capabilities with a service delivery platform. The traditional M2M module vendors are keen to do this in order to add value and compete with the mass market manufacturers from the far east. Sierra Wireless, for instance, very much positions itself as more than simply a module manufacturer.

Machina Research has been predicting some substantial consolidation in the M2M value chain for some time. There are just too many SDPs and a bit of rationalisation is a natural development, particularly as they start to become more horizontalised. There is also the added competitive threat to the module providers such as Sierra, Telit, SimCom and Cinterion from the far east. This should create an environment where we'll see even more consolidation. It was interesting to note that Ericsson announced it was quitting the modules market. Perhaps no big surprise as the natural role for Ericsson is to move up the value chain into professional services and IT, rather than try to compete in the more commoditised devices market.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Vodafone Germany to offer HDTV service over LTE

Vodafone Germany is (according to this article on Fierce Wireless) planning to launch HDTV over its LTE network during the first half of 2012. In the wake of MNOs wailing about pressure on their network capacity from heavy users, it seems odd that an MNO would actively seek to introduce a new tranche of customers that will be ultra-high users, putting the traditional bandwidth hogs in the shade. However, in Germany there are a particular set of circumstances which go some way to justifying it. In Germany the roll-out requirements for LTE are quite strict. So if VF has to build a network they'd better find some traffic to carry on it. I wouldn't expect HDTV to feature strongly as an offer in markets with less strict LTE deployment requirements, where the technology is generally being used to cope with high demand at usage hotspots.