The machines are taking over and communications holds the key – in a good way.


In the communications industry we tend to look at life from the inside out. We look at the Over the Top (OTT) players invading our territory and consider them enemies until we consider how to ally with them to add value and make money.

We look at the television and feel slightly proud that the largest telecoms companies are making inroads into their space. We, the invaders. Grrr. AT&T taking on DirecTV, Telefonica going for DTS. Grrr.

Payments too, of course, where a day does not seem to pass without a new player, a new technology – or an old one going south.

If you change the focus and look at our world of communications from the outside in, you truly see the value.

Retailers are innovating every day, offering on-site deals to loyal customers, because they know who they are. The inequalities between on-site prices and web based prices are not just crumbling but being taken advantage of by canny marketing teams. To attract people into shops, retailers are now offering discounts if actually visit them.

And in a variety of industries, there are changes that are seismic. Take healthcare. With 20 percent of the US’ GDP going into healthcare, the benefits of having connected monitors, medicine and medical aid are enormous. Along with the other industries that are becoming connected, such as cars (about which we might be a little cynical) and smart meters, it is not surprising that Infonetics says that M2M services will hit $31 billion and M2M connections to top 4 billion by 2017.

Meanwhile, Machina Research predict that the M2M healthcare industry alone will generate USD90.9 billion in total revenues by 2023, outlined in the figure below, increasing at a CAGR of 17.2% from 2013.

And yet in the communications market we still call this vast and fundamental change ‘M2M.’

From the outside – or inside the healthcare market – they see what our industry does as, literally, life saving.

We add the value just by connecting things – 847 million things in healthcare by 2023, according to Machina. What we can also add is huge streams of revenue, through partnerships with specialists in the various verticals, through our knowledge of complex billing and associated customer service (lacking though it may be at the moment) and our increasing appetite and ability to provide Quality of Service and real-time monitoring and policy management across the piece.

As Jim Morrish of Machina says, “The first thing to realise about the ‘M2M’ market is that it is not a market. It is a technology-defined slice through a myriad of different kinds of business processes.”

Viewed from outside, we are the new oil, the thing that makes progress work. What we need to do is think like the oil industry and see how well we can package what we provide – to add value to others and revenues to ourselves.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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