- In an effort to expand beyond their traditional customer bases, service providers and the vendors selling into them have talked up the opportunity presented by diverse digital industries (vertical markets).
- In announcing an upgrade to its virtualized IoT platform, Affirmed acknowledged the trend by partnering with Tech Mahindra in order to tap its “enterprise domain expertise.” Other vendors (and carriers) will doubtless follow suit at Mobile World Congress. To do the messaging right, they’ll need to involve partners.
Earlier this week, Affirmed Networks announced an upgrade to its IoT platform offer, including support for NB-IoT. Perhaps more importantly, the announcement called out work with Tech Mahindra to tap its enterprise domain expertise in supporting IoT rollouts.
Why would this be ‘more important’? Beyond consumer use cases, IoT is inherently about supporting specific enterprise applications – applications requiring intimate domain expertise. But, this is about more than just IoT. In an effort to expand their addressable markets, telecom vendors and carriers have been talking up their plans to target the enterprise. This messaging has been so loud and consistent that we’ve called it out as something we hope to concrete examples of at Mobile World Congress this year [see page 6]. And, to some extent, we’ve seen lots of enterprise-focused announcements within a telco context in the run-up to MWC.
- Nokia’s work with GE and Qualcomm on Private LTE.
- Nokia’s demos of MulteFire and CBRS for “new enterprise business opportunities.”
- Ericsson’s ‘Smart Factory’ demo with China Mobile.
- Ericsson’s work with Intel (pulling in Honeywell, GE and UC Berkeley) on the 5G Innovators Initiative.
- You could even include ARRIS’ decision to announce its plans to acquire Ruckus from Brocade.
What Affirmed’s announcement points to, however, is different. Work with Tech Mahindra highlights the need for support in truly reaching the enterprise – or, as Affirmed puts it, “enterprise domain expertise and capabilities for connecting devices to the critical information and applications residing in the enterprise.” If the telecom world hopes to be successful in selling into the enterprise, understanding their needs and integrating with their processes will be critical. And yet, almost by definition, this involves expertise most telco players don’t possess.
It’s become almost a cliché for telecom players to declare that they are ‘open’ to working with partners. While we’ll doubtless see plenty of enterprise-related launches and news from MWC, making good on claims of ‘openness’ via partnerships with enterprise specialists – and enterprises themselves – will be critical if the telecom world is to actually tap the enterprise opportunity. Here’s to hoping we see it.