Embracing M2M

M2M and the IoT are happening here and now. Resellers are often slow to take up new tech nologies and have been guilty of viewing M2M as something that is a futuristic technology with no relevance to them. They are wrong! Here, Philip Cole, Group Sales and Marketing Director of Wireless Logic explains why.

Comms Business (CB): As it stands, what is your view of the M2M market and how will the Channel fit in with that view? 

Philip Cole (PC): In such a fragmented world of things being enabled with internet connectivity, the reseller will play a fundamental role in targeting vertical markets that they already understand. The market knowledge is key – understanding their customers, their working environments and their business strategies – all help in being armed to address new and important M2M/IoT initiatives. It is being armed with that knowledge which will strengthen the channel’s arm in creating dialogue. And for that dialogue to be constructive and effective, it’s then critical to be able to deliver the right solutions, technology and support. Can the channel magic this up? Well, probably not straightaway, and that’s where it’s vital for them to partner with the right technology companies. It is a big ask for the channel and whilst unified communications in essence is a ‘one company for all requirements’ approach, we firmly believe it’s for the channel to group together the best skill sets and approach IoT/M2M opportunities with a consultative pitch.

The market needs the channel – there will be too much to handle without resellers on board. We are confident that with the right mind-set, unified communication providers will deliver, and deliver well.

They need to embrace what is predominantly more an IT sell – but as the market converges the core will be more data centric – resellers must just accept this inevitability and develop the knowledge and value to be offered to end customers.

CB: What types of solutions are currently available and being actively sold by resellers? 

PC: We are successfully working with resellers who are marketing solutions across multiple verticals. These include fleet tracking, user based insurance (UBI), remote asset management, monitoring and control, payment and health monitoring.

CB: Does the Channel get M2M/ IoT? How much education is there still to be done? 

PC: I know the channel can see the opportunities, but for many, I believe there is still a gap of understanding to develop the right propositions to take to market. The financials are being acknowledged. That former voice SIM on a fixed contract is now a specialist data SIM with high ARPU. But I repeat, it’s more than just a data SIM. It’s the infrastructure, security, SIM estate management and integration which are all critical to making IoT/M2M connectivity successful.

And once resellers and customers ‘get it’, the opportunity for revenue creation is massive.

Education is the key driver of this market and much is still needed. It’s empowering the reseller to have the confidence to take solutions to market. And to a certain degree, educating the end user too. The market is still in its relative infancy – large solution owners have learnt ‘on the job’. Now every commercial organisation is thinking… ‘how will IoT/M2M benefit me?’ Resellers must evolve to become solution providers and integrators. That’s where the education and partnership approach are key.

Users of IoT/M2M connectivity must also remember about signal strength. Whilst MNOs will sell a single network solution, or a more tariff-rich global SIM, for many applications multiple networks need to be considered. Country-wide deployments where an application needs full strength – no network can provide this optimisation. So think multiple network solutions – think complex management, think you need to be in complete control, and think… can I do this? This is another compelling reason for getting managed service providers on board.

CB: How big is the M2M/ IoT opportunity? What should resellers wanting to explore this area be doing? · How do you see the M2M/ IoT market evolving over the next 12 -18 months? 

PC: The market is always talking big numbers and big revenue opportunities. I won’t state figures as there’s no one answer. I will only say that I expect most of the numbers banded around are on the button or below it. Today we are talking about industrial applications, and we are only scraping the surface on those. Enterprise is now here. Solutions that make business more efficient, more responsive, and more analytical. And just around the corner are the untold number of consumer applications. We now see the connected car – global car brands are actively featuring how good their connectivity is as part of their product pitch. But for many, the connected/smart home which today sees just a few connected devices that knowingly or unknowingly touch the consumer will soon become multiple devices – talking to each other, sending information externally, receiving instruction and more – all of which will dramatically change the way we live. So what should resellers be doing? Simply learning, preparing and actioning. And the quickest route to market is to partner with experts such as M2M Managed Services Providers like us. We can educate, we can deliver, and we can create income for resellers. And all of this without the need to fundamentally change their business model.

CB: Am also interested in how much investment is needed by resellers to skill up and acquire the appropriate knowledge to sell this stuff? 

PC: Little investment – providers such as Wireless Logic can provide comprehensive training, support and in many cases, a white label consultative sales service. To deliver true M2M secure connectivity, yes, the costs are significant. But our OPEX model enables resellers and their customers to enjoy best-in-class platforms that have evolved following £multi-millions investment, all for low monthly fees as part of their base connectivity tariff. The appropriate knowledge will come in time, but in a market that’s ever evolving, the right expertise must be delivered by specialists. Wireless Logic are the enablers to the channel for [‘selling as a service’ such as SaaS( Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) to name just a few.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine