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.