NTT DOCOMO has re-focused on the M2M market, but this time it's brought a friend in the shape of Jasper Wireless. Given the Japanese incumbent's size, home territory and innovative track-record, the move is being seen as a major endorsement of the 'telco plus partner(s)' approach. By Ian Scales.
The agreement sees Jasper become the M2M platform provider for Japan's largest mobile telco. The announcement says that the "Jasper Wireless platform will provide DOCOMO with the applications and services necessary to accelerate market entry of new categories of connected devices on its network and profitably connect and manage a range of embedded wireless devices."
The Jasper platform tackles the automation of operational processes, including custom device provisioning, instant activation, real-time diagnostic tools and detailed billing and usage reports.
The fact that DOCOMO thinks the time is right to accelerate its M2M effort is being seen as a major boost for M2M globally, given Japan's consumer electronics heritage and the home market's love of a good gadget. That it has decided to re-enter using an established platform player, rather than plough its own furrow as it has done so often in the past, is also being noted with interest.
"This a return to the M2M field for DoCoMo, which more or less “re-organised” its M2M unit out of existence back in 2004, despite a great deal of initial enthusiasm," observes Jeremy Green, principal analyst at Ovum. "Consumer electronics has been the M2M dog that has so far refused to bark, with huge forecasts proving slow to materialise.
No-one could fail to notice that many of the global consumer electronics vendors are Japanese, and the re-entry of DoCoMo into the market could be the shot in the arm that this segment of the M2M market needs.”
Jamie Moss, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, agrees that if DOCOMO hooks the big Japanese consumer electronics companies with embedded radio devices for M2M purposes, it could be a real boost for other users of the Jasper platform who could partner to provide the connectivity in markets beyond Japan.
And, says Moss, the move offers further proof that "companies within the M2M ecosystem [must] focus on their core competencies, while at the same time leveraging the core competencies of strategic partners, rather than trying to accomplish everything by themselves."
Moss points out that while DOCOMO has been a constant presence in the Japanese M2M market, with a 38 per cent share, it is currently in danger of being eclipsed by its competitors. Softbank, in particular, has accelerated its M2M growth to become number two to DOCOMO in 2011. It managed 73 per cent M2M growth giving it a current market share of 31 per cent, up from 1 per cent of the market just three years ago.
In more M2M news
: Telefónica has teamed up with OnStar, a General Motors’ subsidiary to provide M2M connectivity to General Motors' vehicles beyond North America. OnStar has more than 8.5 million customers in North America and uses M2M connectivity for onboard emergency services access, collision detection, roadside assistance, navigation and remote tracing and maintenance.
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