Let’s talk about operator alliances and one in particular I think is going to be successful. Seems to me operator alliances are a good idea to help propel the IoT ecosystem. Why? We’re at an early stage of IoT development and we have a lot to learn from each other. Operator alliances help enterprises deploy multi-country solutions more simply. If an enterprise needs to work with more than one operator, it is helpful to know that the operators have some coordinated operational aspects to their IoT offerings. For example, having coordinated device certification processes or the same device connectivity platform or trouble-resolution processes reduces complexity and costs to an enterprise buyer.
We believe the Global M2M Association (GMA) will have the most success of the operator alliances. Bell Mobility, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia and TeliaSonera form the current membership of the GMA. Each operator appoints one member to serve as a representative to the GMA.
We believe the GMA offers or will offer 3 things to enterprise buyers.
- Offerings – We envision the GMA members to co-develop some solutions. These solutions will certainly take advantage of the coverage footprint, but might also include development of various application and end-user services. These co-developed solutions could be offered to large enterprises, small and medium businesses or consumer markets. Of course, members would need to determine the appropriate engagement model to avoid channel conflicts.
- Operations – The GMA has already focused on inter-company operational improvements to benefit each member. For example, 4 module manufacturers (Sierra Wireless, SIMCom, u-blox and Telit) are certified to work on module performance issues with the GMA. We anticipate this will lead to more rapid introduction of devices with streamlined operational processes across members. We would also expect the GMA to work on other inter-company operational issues including general customer experience management, trouble-ticketing, revenue assurance, service assurance, and device connectivity management. Many of the GMA members already use Ericsson’s Device Connectivity Platform which adds another level of operational consistency across members.
- Coverage – One of the most obvious benefits to enterprise buyers is the enhanced footprint provided by the GMA. This footprint and roaming relationships codify the types of rates that enterprises would pay for connectivity across member companies. We anticipate more members being added – most notably in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Middle East.
There is a level of professional cordiality among the GMA members, the type of professionalism that underpins the makings of a great partnership. Look for additional members, partners and offerings from the GMA over the next 12 months.