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iOS and M2M

There seems to be an increasing interest in the AppleTV box. Should iOS become a major player in the M2M market? Should iOS become the de facto OS of the M2M devices ? After all, the so called smart watch from Samsung is far from being a commercial success, because it lacks  purpose. As the vacuum expands, a new player is called in. Given the lack of interest from Microsoft and Oracle, Apple has a special position in this game, although calling might not be so obvious or interesting. I am sure that were Steve Jobs still here, he would throw the Apple TV in the arena, along with other iOS devices. Sadly, that is not the case and the status quo remains unchanged. 

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CeBIT and M2M

CeBIT will take place in less than two weeks. No direct mention of M2M, but there is no need. The  hottest topic of  this year’s CeBIT will be the use of Big Data. What to do with such tremendous amount of information coming from so many sources. 

How is this related to M2M ? It is more than you think. M2M implies the usage of Sparse Data. Like Big Data, we’re talking about unstructured information. Even if today the two of them seem unrelated one to another, in time, they will converge into a hyper-matrix (a way to organize high volume  sparse data ). Until that day, we still need to use what we have, be it cloud or  data warehouses.

I’m looking forward to CeBIT.

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The presentations at the M2M World Congress : rolling out new M2M services

In the two months left to this big event, I plan to comment on some of the topics addressed by the 30 presentations. The comments will relate to what I would like to hear from the speaker. Hans DahlbergHead of M2M Services at TELIASONERA will talk about rolling out new M2M services.

Traditionally, the M2M market is divided into the  so-called verticals. From the beginning. This is an approach for a mature market, with well-established rules. That is not the case for M2M.  It still is a new technology by telco’s point of view. Let’s agree to disagree. M2M is the single mostly unknown technology. no one knows exactly to what extent it will shape the future. Most foresee a huge growth. Some are very confident. Some are more pessimistic.  I would like the presentation to address some of the following questions:

- how do you plan for  the new services ? own market. department / market studies from 3rd parties / transfer of technology from the IT world /  just copy what the competitors are doing / brainstorming

- do you have regular brainstorming sessions ? if so, have you implemented  some of the ideas debated ?

- how do you reward new ideas ?

- which are the main contributors of new ideas ? marketing / sales / R&D. In which order ?

- why are you rolling new M2M services ? expansion / new player in the arena /  because the competition does

- can you present right now a live demo of such a new service ?

- how good is your customer support  for a brand new service ?

I firmly believe that the single most important question is why? why are you you playing in the field of M2M ? Let’s hope the question shall be answered.

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The strengths and weaknesses of the M2M World Congress 2014

What a topic! Would someone dare to question the might and reasons of the M2M  World Congress  (M2MWC2014) two months before the would even take place ? I think someone would.

It isn’t about the buzz. M2M existed for many years, yet nobody saw fit to notice it until some small company made a lot of money out of it. I won’t fill in the details, but the idea is that nothing is new under the sun. The wheel cannot be reinvented because it already  has.

I pondered over the agenda of the M2MWC2014. Very impressive. New markets. Big Data. Big words. New. Future. Embedded. Trends. Verticals. How cool is that ! I mean, those are the buzzwords we have seen, heard of, spoken of for the last two years. Same thing again and again. This is the language of M2M. But is it really so ?

M2M is supposed do be decentralized. Instead of that, everything is hierarchically put in one of the not so many verticals.  M2M is said to be an emerging technology, yet we see the same mistake made in the IT industry. Once a technology becomes  available and  the early adopters   take a firm grip to that, the big players, which are also the late adopters, start to plan what to do. The problem is that the most fundamental question remains unanswered. Why ?

Why has M2M gained so much importance ? Is it because it is a cool technology ? Or because the telco companies have been left behind by small, smart, speedy startups of 50 engineers who overtook the global market of short messaging ? Let me be understood. M2M is a huge opportunity to do business. But why is it important ? Because it offers visibility.

For years, the traditional way of making money has been to have a huge base  of subscribers  using the basic services like making telephone calls, sending messages and … that was all. Then, the social networks came and the momentum shifted. The telcos lost their competitive advantage. What is M2M market but a renewal of the social networks, machine version. Imagine a Facebook-style M2M network. Would it be so different from the existing systems.  I don’t think so. But let us not diverge from the main idea of this article.

In just two days, there will be some thirty  20-minutes presentations. Everyone who attended executive briefings knows that 20 minutes is just not enough time to present ideas. Not on behalf of big players.

There is too much to be said in so little time available. But companies want to be seen.

I think the biggest weakness of the M2MWC2014 is the visibility. At the bottom of the main page  of the official website, there is a big chunk of  text with no links. Useless. There is one thing that stands up: the word M2M repeated  every three words. Useless. No links at all. What a pity!

I think the role of such an event is to convey revolutionary new ideas. I see no such thing, not from the summit programme, not  from any of the left menu links. It is too big to fail.

Unless it already has.

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The twilight of the telco dinosaurs

Facebook made a bold move to acquire WhatsApp (See article)  This was to be expected sooner of later. In the last five years, all that the  major carriers  did was what ? deploy 3G, 4G ? Yeah, yeah. The moment when  $0 wifi  will be everywhere, that day the mobile carriers will be out of business. Yes, you’ve read it right.  

What are the services offered by major carriers during the last five years ? unlimlited SMS, unlimited MMS and a big chunk of voice communications. That’s all. Sorry to tell, but today, every 8 out of 10  under 30 uses social means of communication on a more that frequently basis. What does this mean ? It means that each time a new  alternative  appears, it will get to the masses. A major  telco is still limited by the size of its own PLMN. That means it cannot reach more than say  100 million customers and that is for the big players. The smaller ones are in for 50 million customers.  That’s all. Compare that with half a billion users most social networks have conquered in a few years and you’ll see the big picture. The top 10 mobile operators have invested jointly 1 trillion dollars in their own networks. And that has allowed sharks like facebook to gain access to hundreds of millions of users, because they are sitting on the shoulders of the giants. Usually, the credit goes to the one they stays visible most of the time. Who is more visible ? Facebook or Vodafone ? WhatsApp or Telefonica. Twitter or  that dinosaur I don’t even remember the name ?

Did big telcos shoot in their legs ? I think they did. Will they survive ? It is likely to see in a few years many a telecom company bought by a dotcom 3.0 startup.   

Anyway, like one movie character said , this is very sad. But life goes on.