A partnership this month could indicate that maintaining and growing an IoT Application Enablement Platform (AEP) is not easy, even for a global systems integrator like Orange Business Services.
That, certainly, is the impression left by an announcement that will essentially see Orange Business Services supplement its own in-house-developed AEP in favor of one from the industrial equipment giant Siemens. Orange Business Services said it would be using the Siemens MindSphere AEP, combined with its own Datavenue data analytics offering, to deliver IoT solutions in Europe.
The initial focus will be to develop solutions around asset tracking and monitoring, to optimize and improve supply chain efficiencies, and develop digitally enhanced products to increase customer satisfaction and create new business models, it said.
The French business services leader continues to focus on its ability to bring global cellular connectivity, consulting, system integration, and application development skills to the partnership. And adding Datavenue into the mix will potentially help industrial customers that require added analytics muscle.
However, the agreement to partner with Siemens for an AEP likely indicates that Orange Business Services, which has a strong showing in many parts of the IoT value chain, was struggling when it came to application enablement. The stars of the Orange Business Services IoT portfolio are a device catalog, a network solution and a cloud-based connectivity management platform. Powering the applications needed to make IoT come alive, though, appears to be a more challenging proposition. Hence Orange Business Services made the decision to use MindSphere which Siemens describes as “a Swiss army knife for all connected machines and devices”.
Commenting on the partnership, Orange Business Services said it will connect systems and objects via MindSphere and customers would have the option of pre-packaged offerings, such as asset tracking, or customized solutions and applications.
The deal strengthens Siemens’ position in the AEP space. And it may serve as a lesson to other IoT service providers that partnerships, rather than in-house development, may be the best way forward for success in application enablement.