Steve Priestley has been with Wyless since March when he joined as managing director, EMEA. Here, M2M Now talks to him about Wyless’ company strategy for expansion, how its managed services offering is developing, and the expected impact of global operator alliances.
M2M Now: Steve, could you tell us how Wyless’ strategy is evolving, including the acquisition of ClearConnex and the launch of Wyless Connect?
Steve Priestley: These moves are part of our strategic development plans to become a full endto-end M2M Managed Services Provider (MSP).
ClearConnex is an innovative engineering and design firm that helps our customers go to market with their M2M products. That range of engineering services includes board level design, embedded software, project management, outsourced technical support and certification services.
ClearConnex also has a licensable device management software platform, ClearComm, that speeds the development of embedded applications in many of the most popular integrated platforms by offering quick APIs to most of the most common requirments in embedded software design. This can shave six months and tens of thousands of dollars off an M2M project.
Over the next six months, ClearComm will be integrated into our Porthos Management Platform, providing the basis for device management solutions integrated with the M2M service delivery platform that our customers and partners use.
Wyless Connect is our first vertical solution. We saw an opportunity to provide a full end-to-end solution for business continuity services using broadband cellular for internet failover, as well as the digital signage and interactive kiosk spaces.
This service requires the two basic building blocks that form the cornerstone of the Wyless value-add: Our secure, redundant private managed network, and our multiple carriers, nationally, regionally and globally. In the broadband fixed wireless business, coverage is king. The only thing more important is security. Wyless provides both.
M2M Now: How has the Wyless Managed Services strategy developed over the last 12 months?
SP: Apologies in advance for ‘blowing our very own horn,’ but one exciting development has been the Frost & Sullivan award for New Product Innovation for Porthos, our web-based Management Platform. It’s nice to be recognised for the hard work by our team of product managers, designers and software developers in executing the vision that Wyless has of being the largest multi-operator MSP in the world. The Porthos platform is the key element that ties it all together, and nearly half of our 90 people globally are in one way or another involved in the on-going Porthos development project which is constantly being enhanced in order to create more value to both Wyless and our partners.
Rather than give you a shopping list of the new features and enhancements that we introduced with Porthos 2.0. I suggest your readers go to: www.wyless.com/products/porthos-m2mmanagement-software We are starting to see a shift from classic MVNO to more of an MSP model, and we don’t necessarily see all of our peer group stepping up to the gauntlet that’s been thrown down by a marketplace that is increasingly demanding a deeper level of involvement and more complex set of services. So what everyone tries to do is partner. But partnering can sometimes lead to confusion. We believe that a big hunk of the value chain needs to be in one place. That’s why we are taking more of a ‘project approach’ in working with our partners. Today it’s all about driving solutions and this trend will continue as the market matures.
So, what are we doing about that? To start we have added a whole new range of services including handling billing and customer support on behalf of our customers; not outsourced, but inhouse. We’ve also added network design and configuration as well as many elements of the supply chain, including hardware selection through warehousing and installation services.
As I mentioned earlier we have also added Engineering and Professional Services to our portfolio. So, now we can help build the entire solution from mechanical design to embedded software, device management and certification.
Then on top of that, we continue to expand the feature set of our Porthos platform, offering not just Service Delivery for M2M, but really almost an entire ‘MVNO in a Box’ solution. That’s why not only have we been recognised for innovation, but we’ve also partnered with NEC, who will be promoting both Porthos and Wyless Managed Services to their partners and customers worldwide.
M2M Now: You just touched on services, how important are services to the M2M market in terms of development and ongoing support?
SP: We believe one-stop 24/7 customer, network and technical services are fundamental attributes of any serious player in the M2M arena. These services are key to simplifying the development and deployment of our customer’s solutions and, of course, to providing on-going operational support of our customers and partners business-critical applications.
As I mentioned earlier the range of services we offer continues to grow to meet market demands. When you add all of these elements together you get a Solutions Provider that not only offers the pure connectivity, but everything surrounding the service delivery aspect of M2M connectivity. There is a growing trend in the market where ASPs, OEMs and large enterprises are recognising the need for this service layer and agreeing that it must be operator-independent.
We have continued to aggressively build out our resources over the last 12 months and they will continue to grow as our partners demand it. As you know, Jeremy, Wyless has published two articles on Customer Services and Technical and Network Services in M2M Now in the past as proof that we take service and support very seriously
M2M Now: You have been on board as MD of Wyless EMEA for six months, Steve. How is it going?
SP: What a six months it has been, fast-paced, lively, challenging and – most of all – fun.
I joined Wyless as it began to move through a number of significant changes, most of which are focused on driving increased value and support to our customer base during a period of aggressive growth. It is always difficult joining a new company and getting to know the team, but given the pace of change and the need for a high level of communication and participation, I feel that I am no longer a new boy, but part of a well-oiled professional team.
We are delivering on the Wyless vision and I am sure that as we continue to deliver on our customer promise of best-in-class service and support, allied to a broadening product and range of service focused on delivering M2M solutions, we will go from strength to strength.
“We have added a whole new range of services including handling billing and customer support on behalf of our customers; not outsourced, but in-house.”
Steve Priestley, Wyless
M2M Now: How will the recently announced global M2M alliance of seven operators affect your multi-carrier strategy?
SP: Interestingly enough, I think it is a firm endorsement of the strategy which we have been implementing over the last two years and is accelerating today.
A global enterprise that is deploying wireless devices across multiple countries on three or four continents cannot be expected to manage the four or five MNOs required to cover their business effectively. They need a go-to-market partner who can handle the complexities of different service platforms, different billing and rating policies and different supply chain rules.
In theory the MNOs will create alliances, and that will work for some, but this is not a one-size-fits-all market. There will always be complexities that can only be solved by an agnostic end-to-end value added services partner.
Of course, our MNO partners are the cornerstone of our strategy. Our entire business model depends on our ability to layer value onto the MNO networks – without that we’d all be lost! We currently connect to 12 operators, soon to be 14, and unbelievably I predict that it will not stop there, especially as broadband fixed applications proliferate globally. Our partners are pushing us into more and more corners of the world and it will not stop.
M2M Now: What do you see as the key drivers to growing the M2M market over the next couple of years?
SP: The next few years will see an accelerating requirement for ‘faster time-to-market’ by simplifying development through to deployment of customer solutions. To meet this requirement, the value chain must be compressed, and the service providers of the future will need to step up and offer as much of that value chain as possible under one roof. That doesn’t always mean providing 100% of the solution, but taking 100% of the responsibility for delivery of that solution.