Everybody seems to be trying to organize the fragmented, dynamic, often perplexing and never-ending world of the Internet of Things. Ericsson is now stepping outside its comfort zone of network infrastructure and telecom software and into the world of e-Commerce by launching – a portal – or a platform – for developers – or buyers.
With hundreds of IoT platforms, dozens of IoT standards groups, non-profit and for-profit organizations positioning themselves as leaders in the hyperconnected world, bringing sense and sensibility to the world of sensed everything, why do we need yet another place to go to find connectable stuff?
“The launch of IoT Accelerator Marketplace will unlock the potential for different players in the value chain to deliver value,” said Jeff Travers, Head of IoT at Ericsson, in the company’s blockbuster news release. “It is another stepping stone to make 5G a reality by enabling massive adoption of massive IoT. This supports service providers as they seek to expose network connectivity IoT APIs and monetize these assets.”
We’ve heard all those words before, perhaps arranged differently on the smorgasbord of “IoT messaging” arrays.
Carrie MacGillivray of IDC jumped into the narrative saying, “Communications service providers are racing to scale and differentiate in the fast moving IoT market.”
And to a large extent, she is signaling the truth – that most large CSPs have missed the IoT boat until now, and their shareholders and product teams and marketers are urging them to start paying more attention.
“It’s necessary for these service providers to have a robust developer ecosystem that helps them compete,” MacGillvray continues, and we can’t really argue with that.
“For developers working across multiple service provider networks and platforms, the challenges of fragmentation are addressed by utilizing APIs that apply globally and are consistent across all mobile networks,” she goes on – but what is Ericsson really doing to solve that problem?
The marketplace angle is “aligned” with their accelerator angle and all angles (for nearly every formerly known as telecom company now striving to be known as software company) are being bandied about, particularly as we head into the “high season” of events including the uber-massive Mobile World Congress happening in Barcelona next week.
Ericsson touts its IoT Accelerator as “the middleman that doesn't meddle” by delivering a full stack IoT platform based on a subscription model. “Together with data and device management, monetization, analytics, security, and our industry-leading know-how in connectivity, IoT Accelerator will be the first middleman you love,” their website says, while also using the word billions on that page. Sounds friendly, but what is this “by the drop” business model going to deliver, compared to the massive revenue associated with installing Ericsson’s heavy metal, three-year contracts, maintenance agreements, and other “locked in” services of days gone by?
It’s not an easy business model to switch, and many of Ericsson’s competitors are struggling with the same transformation from hardware to software, from premise to cloud, from services to everything-as-a-service.
Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator is described as “a cloud-based horizontal offering comprising of platform services and professional services, for service providers. It provides continuous incremental functionality offered as a Service to enable agile creation and deployment of solutions for the Internet of Things.”
It’s being demonstrated in Barcelona, and we can’t wait to see what’s in the marketplace, which ecosystem partners they have attracted thus far, and specifically which developers they’ve signed so far.
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