Mobile Monday London - Connecting 50Bn

News from “The Internet of Things & other Machine-to-Machine Stories” - CBI Conference Centre, 17/5/2011

Terrific line-up for the 66th Mobile Monday London (MoMoLo) event! Camille Mendler of Informa moderated the evening, joined by Dan Warren, Director of Technology at GSMA, David Wood, Technology Strategy Lead for Embedded Devices at Accenture, Tor Bjorn Minde, R&D Manager from EricssonLabs, and William Webb, CTO from Neul.

From connecting places to connecting people and, finally, connecting things: this is how the mobile industry has transformed into machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. M2M is a concept that applies to a wide range of many different use cases for example automotive and printing technologies. Our presenters argued that M2M represents an extremely promising market for TLC operators. The potential of 50 billion connected M2M devices by 2020 promises to push demand for the deployment and adoption of significantly more M2M connections, which in turn will require dramatic innovation in the network, devices and management of M2M communications. Tor Bjorn Minde from Ericsson quickly mentioned their recent acquisition of Telenor mobile connectivity platform. David Wood explained Accenture’s initiative called “Embedded Software Labs”, focused on tablets communicating, media sharing (UPnP, DLNA), new ULS for new device categories. According to their vision, which stresses the business opportunities viewpoint, M2M is “embedded smartphone technology not used by smartphones”.

Talking about the Internet of Things - as Camille Mendler pointed out in her introduction - means making a bet on a range of technologies, about which there are three main questions on the table:
  • Is it (or is it going to be) a big market?
  • Is it profitable (and for whom)?
  • And finally - having read news like this - is it safe?
Industry infrastructure's heterogeneity poses challenges which are accentuated by the range of applications. GSMA has been dealing with this for the last 50 months, running a project about embedded mobile opportunities with a focus on four verticals: healthcare, consumer electronics/mEducation, automotive, utilities. It is not - as Dan Warren underlined - about the launch of a new disruptive smartphone but about changing everything we know about devices from certification procedures to connectivity features.

From “smartphones for everyone” to “smartphone technology everywhere”: this is how the mobile operators’ perspective is changing from the last decade to the next five years. Instead of listing the classic enablers (e.g. price and accessibility of proper devices), David Wood highlighted potential decelerators for this huge change. In addition to unexpectedly hard technical issues, he mentioned the ecosystem (chicken-and-egg coordination problems, e.g. related to regulation), conflicting business models (innovator’s dilemma), poor usability design, lack of agility, platform fragmentation, accelerating complexity. Each of these points would have required another seminar to do it any justice.

Alberto Carlini
Sales and Research Analyst