Aeris, a machine-to-machine (M2M) communications technology supplier, will develop an internet of things (IoT) service system for mobile carriers, working alongside India-based services house Tech Mahindra.
The net value of M2M and IoT services is set to top $120bn in 2015 and the compound annual growth rate is forecast at 23.5% between now and 2020, according to Machina Research’s M2M forecast database.
Aeris vice-president of development Mohsen Mohseninia said with these figures it is only natural carriers are concluding that 2015 is the right time to embark on an IoT project.
However, Mohseninia said firms are often challenged in this ambition by the fact the costs associated with setting up an IoT practice – particularly the costs of sourcing components from third-party suppliers – are prohibitively high.
“Every mobile carrier has an M2M practice,” he said. “But they shy away from answering questions about profitability because they aren’t making any profit."
Machina Research founder and CEO Matt Hatton said many carriers are to begin plans to tap into the growing IoT market, but they need a well-considered approach to "coherently and profitably" addressing the market.
“In particular IoT, compared to M2M, requires mobile network operators [MNOs] to tackle a broader range of issues, including more complex regulation and issues associated with data management."
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To this end, Aeris – which got its start in the 1990s building alarm communications systems – and Tech Mahindra are to set up an IoT services platform called Jumpstart IoT.
The platform will expand carrier service offerings to included packaged apps for key vertical systems, such as fleet and asset management, insurance and so on.
It will also include a locally deployed technology platform for delivering managed device connectivity services; specialised system operations and support services; go-to-market planning support services; and an internet-scale device data analytics infrastructure.
Device, customer and billing data will reside in the operator’s home country, keeping delivery costs low and reducing regulatory concerns in some markets.
These features go further than proprietary in-house or external machine services overlays, which up to now have constituted most carriers’ entire M2M or IoT strategies.
Monetising managed data services
It is hoped Jumpstart IoT will enable carriers to get a head start in providing – and monetising – managed data services for the IoT, as well as lowering barriers to entry for app developers.
Aeris claimed carriers would be able to service a wider customer base as a result, and grow their share of enterprise M2M and IoT spend by up to 300% over connectivity services alone.
Tech Mahindra global head of digital enterprise services Rishi Bhatnagar said the platform represented its shift towards analytics-led, cloud-enabled digital services.
“Noting services like software as a service, platform as a service, workspace as a service and infrastructure as a service are critical building blocks of Tech Mahindra's digital transformation strategy, we aim to provide an opportunity for telecommunications service providers to reinvent themselves," he said.
Aeris head of operator marketing Dan McBride added that the role of mobile operators in the IoT era is clear.
"Not only will they continue to supply connectivity services, but they are also becoming a focal point for the access, use and billing of IoT applications," he said.
"Additionally, MNOs will be the repositories and distributors of data from the IoT, providing secure, controlled data access services that will fuel explosive IoT growth.
"Through Jumpstart IoT, Aeris and Tech Mahindra are helping operators launch profitable M2M services today and sow the seeds for this future marketplace."