Friday, 24 February 2012

Machina Research's ten predictions for M2M in 2012

Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Machina Research’s Directors have gazed into their crystal balls and have made the following predictions for what will happen in the world of M2M in 2012. We will score these forecasts and provide another ten in time for Mobile World Congress 2013. More details on our predictions is available on our website.

  1. A clear top tier of operator alliances will emerge

  2. Satellite operators and Systems Integrators will join global M2M alliances

  3. Android @home products will hit the marketplace

  4. 2G will become accepted as a long term technology option

  5. Some M2M platforms that currently partner with CSPs may begin to look like competitors to CSPs

  6. Huawei will launch an M2M platform

  7. There will be further restructuring in the module/chipset market

  8. MNOs will position themselves to take advantage of the growth in connected CE devices

  9. True standardisation proves harder than expected

  10. The mobile industry will agree on a definition of M2M, and start counting

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Machina Research publishes its inaugural M2M Leaderboard: Vodafone, DT and AT&T top the list

We at Machina Research made a very exciting announcement today. We've launched our inaugural M2M Leaderboard, a ranking of the top 20 global mobile network operators (MNOs) based on their expected revenue from mobile M2M in 2020. Between them, these top 20 global MNOs will secure approaching EUR25billion in revenue from M2M applications in 2020.

Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and AT&T were the top 3 players. Click here to find the press release and the complete top 20 ranking.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Sprint partners with Orange...another member for the emerging DT/Orange/Telia alliance?

Sprint yesterday announced that it was partnering with Orange Business Services to extend its reach beyond the US market for M2M. Press release here. The aim is to offer global connectivity to Sprint's US clients looking to expand geographically. This is more than just a footprint agreement though. Orange will provide SIM cards for Sprint's M2M devices, it will also provide the SIM management platform.

So, effectively, Sprint is launching a dual mode 3GPP/3GPP2 M2M offering in conjunction with Orange. This makes sense as Sprint is rather hamstrung in offering cross-border services as CDMA networks are barely deployed anywhere outside of the US. Having a single GSM partner whose expertise and network of alliances they can tap into is also sensible.

This is just another example of the patchwork of alliances and agreements that we can expect for M2M over the next few years. These will have different levels of obligation from roaming through to complete intra-network transparency and the ability to offer SLAs. Orange has already committed to an alliance with Deutsche Telekom and Telia Sonera. Based on these developments Sprint is an affiliate member of that grouping.

I have covered CSP alliances in various Research Notes published by Machina Research. To access them a subscription is required to our Advisory Service. OBS is one of the CSPs profiled in our M2M CSP Benchmarking Report 2012.

It's impossible to gauge the importance of this announcement without clarifying a few details. I'm hoping to chat with the relevant parties over the next day or two about the implications. I'll be sure to update this when I do.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Swisscom selects Ericsson's DCP as M2M platform

Remember this blogpost from December where I complained that Swisscom had not told us their big piece of M2M news? Well, that big piece of news was this. They've selected the Ericsson Device Connection Platform, making them the second operator running the platform after Telenor Connexion which developed it before selling it to Ericsson.

The first trials will be in February 2012 and commercial deployment in the summer.

Good news this for Ericsson, which really needed a second reference customer. Swisscom isn't exactly a global player, as its facilities-based footprint only covers Switzerland. But it is the dominant player in both the Swiss fixed and mobile markets by quite some way. It also has a strong brand and established reputation with multinational companies. As a result it might hope to pick up some global deals for enterprise M2M implementations, for instance for supply chain management.

Also it's good news for Telenor, which must be hoping for more potential partners to migrate onto the platform. Currently it's struggling with issues of scale against Vodafone and the emerging alliance between DT, Orange of Telia Sonera. Building up a bit of global scale will help. Having Ericsson clearly gives them that to a certain extent but basically, the more partners the better. Swisscom is just a small step in the right direction for Telenor.

For Swisscom it's also a good move. The DCP is a great platform and will help with efficiently addressing the M2M opportunity. In terms of future-proofing and ensuring the requisite M2M feature-sets Swisscom has made a good choice.

Although Swisscom wasn't one of the CSPs that featured in our inaugural M2M CSP Benchmarking Report, we do profile Telenor Connexion and one of the criteria upon which we judged CSPs was platforms, so we run the rule over the DCP. Further Reports and Research Notes are planned on the theme of platforms over the course of the next few months. Contact me for more details.

Machina Research estimates that there will be about 46 million M2M devices, including 10 million cellular, in Switzerland by 2020, up from about 4 million at the end of 2010 (Source: Machina Research's Connected Intelligence Forecast Database, 2012).

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Is this the right approach from Everything Everywhere...

I was in East Grinstead the other week. You don't need to know why. They had a fresh and brand-spanking Everything Everywhere store (picture on the left courtesy of, my third favourite "this is" site in the South East). For those not from the UK or familiar with such things EE is a 50/50 joint venture between T-Mobile and Orange which has combined the two company's UK mobile assets. As well as their own stores they're also rolling out combined EE stores.

I can't help but think that this is crazy. I understand, of course, that it's good to reduce costs. One store in EG instead of two, for instance. But surely by using EE as a consumer brand they're throwing away a big opportunity. In lots of industries the same company tries to sell more-or-less the same product to different people at different prices. Basic segmentation. VW/Skoda/Seat for instance. Or PC World/Dixons/Currys. Surely it would be more sensible to hide the EE brand and use the Orange and T-Mobile brands to address different market segments.

I know the arguments about neither MNO wanting to devalue their brand by having theirs as the 'value' brand while the other is the premium. Fine. Don't. Do something more interesting. Use Orange as the business brand and T-Mobile as the youth brand or something like that. Either way, it would be a crying shame if EE threw away a set of perfectly serviceable brands with certain characteristics attached that could be used for segmentation.