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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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.

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.

The size of IoT market in 2020

Each week I read about the estimated size of M2M market in 2020. What is interesting is that the figure is increasing. This is a logic explanation of the fact that some big investments will be in effect by 2015, like the smart power meter or the emergency cal or the NFC devices ( phones included). The last figure I’ve seen is 212 billion. While this might be seen as a joke about 2012, I welcome the new figure, more than ever. Why ? because it is evolving. The market abhors vacuum and round figures. I am sure that the most accurate projection is not 50 billion, neither 212 billion, but 423.169.531.992 devices.  Why ? There is an emerging market that grows unseen, yet it cannot be ignored: the nanotech devices. How many ? A lot. And by 2020, they will represent 90% of the market. 90% ? Yes. like the millions of billions of insects, hard to see the hidden part of the iceberg is. But it is.   

Samsung + ARM = M2M

Samsung is a big player in the world of M2M. At the Cartes 2013 exhibition I have the opportunity to see up close  a M2M module. It made me want to create my own M2M company. I mean, a M2M module is just a SIM socket + SIM, the ARM CPU + flash  memory and the connectors ( Ethernet, serial, etc.) Only the antenna was missing. Why then is the M2M movement gaining momentum such clumsily ?

M2M at a glance – Germany (I)

This  is a first post in a long series about M2M around the globe. I’ve chosen Germany because of the special position into the IMC. 

Among the four telcos in Germany, the following three are in process of implementing M2M:

 

D-Telekom

I would say that this company is  very strong and has started to implement M2M 2.0. That means information starts to flow to the public. According to company’s website, D-Telekom is offering APIs to customers.  The circle is complete as  customers are able to  access transparently the data from M2M devices. This is a very sane approach, like the AppStore. By enabling 3rd party customers to implement their own solutions, Telekom may hit the jackpot.

 

Vodafone

The world telco giant is one step behind D-Telekom. Still blocked  at M2M 1.0 level, Vodafone is doing its best: offering specific solutions to specific problems. The smartest way to do business is to copy a technology just before it hits mass market and shunt competition. Telekom, be aware. 

O2

Backed by parent company Telefonica, O2 has yet to reach M2M 1.0 level. O2 offers  only basic SIM management ans services. There is not much to say and we will watch its evolution  closely in the future, as Telefonica may or may not inject money, technology and people in this company. 

 

The fourth company  would have been E-plus, but they may merge with O2, as it has been implied earlier this year.