By Chris Baker and Cheng Kian Khor
Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, or the Internet of things” (IoT), is set to transform our world, from helping consumers save money with smarter power usage to increasing safety with connected vehicles.
And the industry is entering a period of tremendous growth. Gartner estimates there will be more than 200 billion M2M connections by 2020, and communications service providers (CSPs) with their broadband and mobile networks and connected devices will play a major role. The explosion in the number of Internet-connected devices also corresponds with the shift in the traditional CSP business model from a carrier-centric market to one based on connectivity between carrier networks, third-party cloud and M2M devices, and real-time analytics tools. To bring this vision to reality there needs to be an obsessive desire for standardization of platform. In an Internet of things world the application is key, therefore a standard platform is mandatory one that scales, is secure and allows “write once, deploy many times” is the only option in this rapidly changing world. Java provides that platform from device to data center.
This paradigm shift represents a great opportunity not only for CSPs, but for system integrators, value added resellers (VARS) and other channel partners to expand their offerings and grow market share. Capturing that opportunity will require sophisticated capabilities that stretch from individual connected devices scattered around the world to powerful business analytics tools back in the data center. Channel partners, however, are well-positioned to provide CSPs with value-added technology and managed services to realize the full potential of M2M. Building on a standard platform allows a quick time to market and return for channel partners.
Capitalizing on Open M2M Platforms
By developing open, adaptable technologies that complement CSPs existing networks, channel partners can significantly grow their bottom lines. It will take strategic planning to meet evolving customer and CSP expectations and create mutually beneficial partnerships with vendors and carriers, but if they leverage the opportunity correctly, channel partners can stand to benefit significantly and in some cases, are already benefitting from growth in the M2M space.
CSPs are demanding open, flexible technology platforms to meet the connectivity, billing, and data demands for their new M2M lines of business. By developing co-branded relationships with CSPs, channel partners can capitalize on this need, distinguish their offerings from the competition and increase sales. Further, by leveraging standardized technology in these relationships, agents and resellers can become key enablers for products and services in many markets, industries and services.
CSPs are still evolving to meet new market demands. They need to grow new revenue streams by delivering innovative M2M applications with sophisticated billing capabilities to better handle the variety and volume of connected devices. Traditional billing systems based on call detail records are not going to cut it for M2M services, as these devices can generate huge amounts of sensor and telemetry data. Further, CSPs need open content and development platforms that enable service providers to bring new M2M implementations and applications that function across various scenarios and market verticals to market quickly.
Carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have developed partner programs to support M2M application and service development. Partners who develop offerings based on industry-standard technology will be strategically positioned to support multiple carriers and will benefit the most from the M2M opportunity. For example, Oracle recently partnered with Qualcomm to develop an M2M application platform to help CSPs like AT&T and Deutsche Telekom develop the next generation of M2M and IoT applications. The solution will help to accelerate the development and deployment of M2M applications with embedded cellular connectivity. The platform leverages the write once, run anywhere” capabilities of Java while eliminating the need for an external processor or micro controller, increasing productivity, and reducing costs. The platform also enables applications to communicate directly with the data center to help streamline analytics. With the help of standardized embedded technology, Qualcomm supports the M2M needs of two very different mobile providers.
Further, to capitalize fully on the IoT opportunity, effective communication among all elements of the back-office architecture from service creation to billing to business intelligence is key. With an integrated, connected platform, such as the one developed by Qualcomm, it is possible to deploy applications faster, process and analyze data generated by M2M applications more quickly and act on events such as changes in customer demand rapidly.
Big Data Is Still Big Business
But creating the next wave of Internet-connected devices is just a starting point. The real business play for channel partners in the rapidly expanding world of Internet-connected devices, however, extends beyond the creation of new applications to the back-end data management, business intelligence and systems that will help turn data into timely metrics and actionable opportunities.
With billions of Internet-enabled devices transmitting huge data volumes to corporate servers or the cloud, the industry buzz around big data being, well, big, is not for naught. To fully leverage all this information, organizations must integrate these data streams into their existing data systems and applications so that they can analyze the data, make timely decisions and maximize the business benefit.
The secret of success in this new M2M world lies in creating a rich ecosystem that can optimize datas value and keep costs low at each step of the chain. And partners such as system integrators and resellers with technologies that span from the device to the data center are in an excellent position to make these types of solutions real. Whats more, as a recent Oracle study found, many companies with an influx of new data are experiencing a dearth of analytical talent that channel partners, if they act quickly, can help fill.
M2M is here to stay, and CSPs are clamoring for a slice of the profits. Channel partners have an unprecedented opportunity to do the same and shouldnt wait to reap the benefits of a new profit pool. With a strategic, standardized approach to the M2M opportunity, channel partners will see their opportunities expand significantly and partnerships with CSPs grow.
Chris Baker, senior vice president of global ISV/OEM/JAVA sales for
, is responsible for working with ISV/OEM partners to maximize Oracle’s business through those partners, while maximizing those partner’s business to their end users. He previously was a member of Oracles EMEA management team and senior vice president with responsibility for Oracles core technology business.
Cheng Kian Khor, director of architecture, Asia Pacific & Japan for Oracle, is the industry solution leader (ISL) globally for new revenue stream enablers (M2M, big data)in the Communications & Media Industry Solutions Group within Oracles Industries Business Unit. In this role, he is responsible for solutions for M2M, Internet of things and big data for the communications industry.