New and additional services for connectivity and data management are the highest priorities for vendors to the M2M industry according to experts at an industry gathering organized by module maker Telit Wireless Solutions and held on the eve of the CTIA Enterprise show in San Diego. Both Oozi Cats, CEO of Telit (Sgonico/Trieste, Italy), and Robin Duke-Woolley, founder of analyst firm Beecham Research (London), agreed in separate keynote addresses that equipment vendors, software providers, and network operators would all have to add new value to prosper as M2M deployments increase rapidly and technology becomes commoditized.
Cats offered an unusually open view of Telit’s current business, expected to yield over $180 million in top-line revenue in 2011, thanks in part to the recent acquisition of Motorola’s embedded systems business. While sale of the company’s modules grew at an outstanding rate of close to 30% in the past year, average unit price fell by almost 12%, making profits much more modest. It’s a trend he thinks will continue.
“We must provide our customers with services for data management and connectivity. We must add value. I’m not sure if this means that, at the end of the day, we become an MVNO, but it might,” said Cats. Indeed, he pointed out that the lion’s share of the company revenues no longer come from equipments sales, but rather, sales of services.
Duke- Woolley described these new M2M offerings as “service enablement services,” and showed data from a survey his firm had done among hundreds of M2M adopters in key vertical markets, like automotive, energy & utilities, and healthcare. According to this data, only 15% of M2M adopters were currently using outsourced. “It’s no longer appropriate to sell connectivity without management. This represents a huge opportunity for network operators and other M2M vendors,” said Duke-Woolley.
One prominent example of the need for additional, value-added service is the globalization of M2M applications, according to the keynotes. The Beecham survey forecast that, in the next several years, more than 50% of all M2M deployments will require connectivity in more than 21 countries or more. “Currently, there are very few network operators that can offer this kind of coverage,” said Duke-Woolley. Cats added that Telit’s own sales forecast was for greatly increased internationalization – 50% of the company’s current business is done in EMEA, but Cats expects this to even out with faster-growing sales in North America and the Asian Pacific regions in three years.