The Telco/Mobile Operator Cloud – what are the unique aspects for Operators?

I have been asked this a few times .. and its a changing goal post ..
Time to do a quick recap of my views

Qs is: What are the unique differentiators/ advantages for the Telecom Operator for the Cloud?

Here is a brief summary

The Cloud
- The Cloud can be seen to be ‘on demand/metered’ access to HW, SW and services. Hence, its all about business models

- Cloud converts CAPEX to OPEX. The ideas are not new but the technology is here which makes the business model feasible. There are many advantages – ex scaling, outsourced sysadmin etc

- Amazon S3 and EC2 clouds provide access to computing resources – ex disk storage, CPU etc and are one of the best example of Cloud services

- The problems with Cloud are the same as that of any ‘outsourcing’ –security, privacy etc etc

What can ‘telecoms’ do for the Cloud?
- In a word of ‘on demand’ services – the question arises – which services can telecoms uniquely provide(typically then Operator) – which others like amazon cannot

- Convergence is one i.e. you are with one provider and that provider manages your mobility ‘seamlessly’ at home and outside and also stores all your data

- This model has some limited success(typically in fixed to mobile convergence for homes) and in enterprises but has not really taken off

- ‘Bandwidth’ is another service that can be provided by the Operator ‘on demand’

- Ericsson is widely reputed to be speaking of 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The management of these devices could be an important part of the Mobile cloud

- Similarly, management of sensors in venues such as cafes could also be ‘outsourced’ and managed by the Operator

- The Operator could also sell QOS(Quality of service) but end to end QOS is hard to sell and gurantee for Operators

- There is now a clear trend to store music in the cloud (maybe followed by other content) ex from Apple to be announced next week

- Security, Privacy and Identity will always the the forte for the Operator

Managing the Cloud ecosystem end to end for the Telecom operator
- One of the unique challenges which Operators face, especially in the West, is that Operators do not control the device.
- This has relevance in the cloud context since many of the benefits (ex security, guaranteed QOS etc) cannot be provided unless the Operator also has a ‘footprint’ on the client(device)

- This can be achieved in at least three ways: A SIM card (which is controlled by the operator), an operator managed ‘on device portal’ or devices like femtocells

Hypothesis
considering the view that the Operator Cloud advantages can only be deployed if they have some footprint on the device, then there are three possible options

a) Security, privacy, Identity – you do not have to necessarily go via the Operator route for these, but the Operator has a long history in this space and also the motivation. I am moderating some webinars (free) at the Sim alliance on this topic and I will summarise these ideas more

b) Sensors and other devices – these are ‘greenfield’ and in some cases, the security, privacy and Identity arguments also
apply

c) There is also a wider aspect of ‘Voice and the Cloud’ which Martin Geddes and Dean Bubley are speaking of and that is also a differentiator for the Operator

That’s my thinking so far ..

comments welcome

M2M LTE and the next generation SIM applications – my talk at the LTE world summit in Amsterdam

M2M LTE and the next generation SIM applications – my talk at the LTE world summit in Amsterdam

Machine to Machine (M2M) refers to the idea of devices that transmit and receive data over a network, typically
from remote locations. Application domains include healthcare, energy networks etc

- O2 + Smart metering company G4S – deploys a remote management system including around 200,000 SIM cards,
to connect smart meters across the UK to G4S’ data centre.

- Telstra introduced a web-based self-service platform, allowing organisations to manage M2M products
themselves.

- Operators like M2M because predictable billing , more connections etc

Currently 5 billion users worldwide connected to mobile networks and Ericsson estimates there will be 50 billion connected
devices by 2020. These devices need certification, authentication, registration and management(ex SW upgrades) + QOS

BUT M2M != IOT

Machine to machine is two (intelligent) machines communicating with each other

Internet of things is about interacting objects(active or passive) – ex includes RFID

M2M is a subset of IOT

many factors driving IOT

• Android@Home: Google I/O last week – An IOT – home gateway used by Lighting Science to connect an Android tablet to mesh-networked LEDs. Pitched towards inexpensive hardware for mesh networking.
• Networked LEDs and devices over WiFi
• A Tungsten music player reacting controlled via NFC. Once the CD touched the player, it automatically started playing the album.
• Microsoft – Smart Home, Kinect , IBM, Cisco and HP all have sensor development and service platforms
• Homeplug,
• Smart objects,
• Ipv6
• NFC for interactions vs. NFC for transactions.
• Tap and know’ vs. ‘Tap to pay’ – NFC can extend itself to signage, posters, billboards and other merchandising and
advertising mediums, Compare prices, read reviews, receive a coupon – replaces bardcode scanning (but less clunkier) –
(image GigaOm)

• NFC is now being built into many devices – especially Android, Samsung, Blackberry and Apple

• 150,000 retailers in the U.S. with readers that accept NFC transactions but mass market penetration 3 to 5 years away

• Interactions may come before transactions .. (easier problem to solve)

• Visa is launching a system that includes
: an e-commerce offering,
an m-commerce offering and
an offline piece for point-of-sale transactions.

• Disruptive because – it is a platform (includes other providers, allows customers to choose cards, allows promotions
and couponing)

• Visa recently announced a strategic investment in Square
• PayPal is expanding its online efforts and going more mobile, Amazon is reportedly considering its own NFC
• Apple is also reportedly looking at NFC AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile’s Isis
• Facebook credits
• LTE is all about high performance, low latency and low cost.
• But selling advantages of a network has not been easy for Operators since customers do not understand networks,
they understand services.
• While Operators have been good at selling simple, mass market services globally; how they can do this in the
LTE world remains a challenge.
• In the LTE world, the SIM plays a mandatory role as specified by 3GPP
• But the SIM is also evolving and could play a role as an enabler of services and in management of services
• Which services? Services based on the SIM for LTE and M2M may be based on mass market elements like
Security, Mobility and Identity

- Identity takes on more significance. Recently, the NSTIC (National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace)
US govt – officially unveiled its plans for a national secure internet ID program.

- This initiative will be voluntary and largely driven by various private sector companies, who will be responsible for verifying your ID

- It provides you with secure credentials that you’ll be able to use across the internet
– the credentials themselves could simply be a secure application, or something like smart card or SecurID token.

Outsourced management services of devices(la IBM, Accenture) – ex privacy and security is a good initial model

Objects as a service. Cloud (on demand SW and HW) and m2m
– not buy but rent
Security and privacy issues are drivers(not just enterprises but cafes!)

We are seeing the development of open platforms and that’s good development for the ecosystem(Visa and Sim
alliance)

To conclude:

- Telecoms not the only way for M2M/IOT.
- Means learning to play in a broader ecosystem vs. controlling it. We are seeing the rise of Open platforms (Visa, Sim alliance etc)
- Interactions vs. transactions. Interactions may come first
- Mobile Broadband is a good analogy. But in niches (health, smart grid). Operators are good at managing access networks
- Portion of revenue within ecosystem is a good pie …ARPU valuations may have to change(machines are not people).
Operators can reuse existing assets leverage network
- Outsourced management services of devices (la IBM, Accenture) driven by privacy and security is a good initial model
(not just enterprises but cafes)

PS: I am a part of webinars at the Sim alliance covering various aspects of M2M, SIM, NFC and APIs

Image sources:

http://www.simalliance.org/en?t=/contentManager/selectCatalog&e=UTF-

8&i=1185787014303&l=0&active=SFP&ParentID=1277822322702

http://www.theberryfix.com/wp-content/uploads/Visa-NFC-Digital-Wallet1.jpg