Businesses are finally recognizing that M2M isn’t something they can do alone. Even the largest enterprises with massive IT departments aren’t in a position to pull this off without help and they should stop trying to. The ecosystem required for an M2M solution is well beyond anything that has been undertaken before and since the whole comm thing isn’t what makes money for most businesses, they should leave it to the experts.
That being said, the experts need to get their act together.
When a new opportunity presents itself, network operators usually approach it one of two ways. One – this is too hard and nobody will pay for it so if we ignore it, it will go away. That didn’t work for broadband did it? Two – this is an engineering problem, we’re the only ones that can solve it and we’re so big that we can dictate the dynamics of the market. That didn’t work with app stores and it’s not going to work with M2M. Service providers created the web, but they didn’t exploit it and although they’ve created the infrastructure to enable M2M, if they don’t exploit their advantage they will lose it. If operators really want to be more than bit pipe providers, it’s time to prove it.
GSMA regularly reports that 70+% of corporate respondents consider mobile service providers as the preferred partners for implementing connected device solutions. So why aren’t we doing it? What enterprise is better suited to the long term construction, operation, maintenance and revenue management of M2M than communication service providers? Operators have been doing this for 100 years and M2M represents one of the most important new revenue opportunities that we’ve seen in quite awhile, so why is this so hard?
Lots of reasons and we’ve heard most of them before, but it’s a message worth repeating.
The size, budget and engineering capabilities that operators possess should enable them to solve these problems and any others that come up along the way. An emphasis on leadership, partnership, collaboration and innovation will get M2M moving and help operators realize the full potential of this market. A lot of progress has been made on the devices and components needed for M2M. Now it’s time to make some progress against business metrics like cost, profitability, process optimization and support. M2M is a technology solution to a business problem but focusing on the technology alone doesn’t get operators any closer to the prize.
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