This week M2M Daily spoke with Erik Brenneis, the Head of M2M at Vodafone Group about technology, electronic consumer products and the M2M Vodafone 5 year plan.
M2MD: What advantage does Vodafone M2M have being a global Carrier for M2M devices on the move?
Erik Brenneis (EB): Vodafone owns and operates an expansive mobile network spanning over 30 countries meaning that our M2M customers are provided with a compelling and competitive commercial proposition. The fact the network is fully owned means our customers can be ensured total control over all of their M2M services and a high quality of service as a result. In markets where Vodafone does not have a presence customers can take advantage of our strong partnerships with mobile operators which span 40 countries, ensuring service control and agreements are maintained across numerous different international markets.
M2MD: Does Vodafone M2M have an integrated product as part of Vodafone Global or does each of the OPCO’s (operating companies) have a different offering?
EB: Vodafone’s global reach means that all M2M customers can use one, global SIM to support their capabilities and applications across many different markets. A global SIM means customers only need to manage one tariff and one supplier, meaning they can plan their investments accurately. They are also able control their costs while supported by a bespoke service level agreement built to suit their specific needs which also allows for the simplification of their device management and leads to reduced management costs in the long run.
M2MD: Is VM2M (Vodafone M2M) looking at CDMA integration on M2M devices?
EB: Vodafone is able to provide M2M solutions that are compatible with both GSM and CDMA networks. With our partner Verizon Wireless we simplify the remote management and monitoring of devices across both European and US networks. This makes it easier for customers on both sides of the Atlantic to activate, monitor and pay for devices deployed across both types of networks.
M2MD: There has been some research recently that suggests there is a growing need in the Electronic Consumer market for connected products. Can you describe how VM2M is part of this growing segment?
EB: In a world where the demand for consumer electronic good is constantly growing, Vodafone is working with its customers to help them integrate M2M technology into new products and services wherever possible. Currently our M2M technology can be found in a number of consumer goods ranging from e-readers and connected digital picture frames to personal navigation and fitness monitoring devices. Further uses of M2M technology in the consumer market are constantly being developed.
M2MD: Where does VM2M see strong growth as a Connectivity partner within the M2M verticals?
EB: Vodafone currently operates across a wide range of industries, from automotive and consumer goods to smart metering and healthcare. In all of these areas, M2M can add enormous value by increasing operational efficiency, generating new revenue streams, and boosting performance through greater control and visibility.
Both the automotive and utilities sectors are major focus areas for Vodafone due to their increasing demand for and subsequent growth of M2M. Much of this demand is being driven by government-backed initiatives such as eCall, which enables vehicles to automatically send out a ‘call for help’ to the emergency services if involved in an accident and legislation to reduce CO2 emissions.
M2MD: What is the 5 year strategy for Vodafone M2M?
EB: Vodafone has invested heavily in developing and building our global M2M platform and we now offer a market leading Global Managed M2M Connectivity Service. As a leading global MNO, we’re committed to driving innovation in the wider market – for example, we have recently launched a number of Connected Products, which bundle our M2M connectivity services with M2M Application Services and/or Hardware. This simplifies the purchasing process, reduces the risk for the customer, and gives the customer one support partner for all aspects. Over the next few years, we will grow our range of connected products that extend both our core capabilities and provide new products for specific priority verticals.
M2MD: Do you see Africa as a potential market for M2M? If so, does VM2M have a role to play in its deployment?
EB: The African mobile market is experiencing a period of incredible growth. The number of mobile subscribers across the continent is growing at a rate of 20 per cent each year which is driving vast improvement in mobile infrastructure across multiple markets. With the continent’s communications infrastructure improving at a rate of knots, alongside strong economic growth, more international businesses are setting up in Africa.
As demand for M2M services continues to grow, we will continue to develop and offer our solutions, specifically tailored to our African clientele. With our existing presence in Africa and our experience working in this market, we believe Vodafone is well placed to take the lead on M2M deployment across the continent.