Operators and vendors are keeping a close watch on contracts for IoT solutions. Analysys Mason has gathered the details of 280 deals in our recently published IoT platform contracts tracker. The key trends we have identified in this data are as follows.
▪ Vendors have an opportunity to do deals with large operators, but solutions need to be targeted (for example, towards specific vertical markets) or differentiated from those of established vendors. Big advanced operators, such as AT&T and Vodafone, have already signed deals for solutions across the value chain.
▪ Smaller operators (such as Telecom Italia and TELUS) have suppliers for connectivity management but will need support if they are to compete in other aspects of the value chain (for example, data management and application enablement).
▪ The market is relatively mature – a few vendors are dominating each section of the market. For example, Cisco Jasper, Ericsson and Vodafone have won around two-thirds of the publicly announced contracts for connectivity management. Cumulocity and PTC/ThingWorx have won around half the contracts for application enablement.
▪ Established telecoms vendors are offering solutions that are close to connectivity, but new vendors have opportunities in this area – for example, Actility has taken a strong position in the low-power, wide-area (LPWA) network space.
Our analysis reveals that AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank and Vodafone are well advanced with their IoT solutions
The IoT software stack has components that can be grouped into three basic layers:
- connectivity management
- device and data management
- application enablement.
Analysys Mason’s new IoT platform contracts tracker focuses on operators’ deployments and lists the public contracts that they have with platform and middleware providers. It includes more than 70 operator groups and 50 IoT vendors, and covers deals in 95 countries across 8 regions. It also highlights the main features of the deployed solutions. In total, it covers 280 deals.
We have analysed the contracts between operators and vendors to assess where most of the activity is happening (see Figure 1). Vendors are categorised based on their main features, and operator groups are categorised based on the number of IoT platforms that they have implemented.
The number of publicly announced contracts tells us how advanced each operator group is in developing its IoT solution. The operators with the lowest number of deals (categories 3 and 4) are generally at early stages of their IoT roadmaps and are looking to enable connectivity and device management capabilities. These are mainly operators in regions where IoT markets are relatively underdeveloped and the drivers to invest in IoT platform features beyond those of basic management are few. On the other hand, operators with multiple platform deployments (categories 1 and 2), such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, are more advanced with respect to their IoT roadmaps and operations are competing in more demanding markets. These operators continue to tighten their control over the IoT network with multiple connectivity and device management platforms while exploring different monetisation approaches and use cases through application enablement platforms.
Actility is one of a small number of start-ups to win a significant number of contracts
The tracker also tells us which vendors are most successful. Vendors with the highest number of deals are Cisco Jasper (60 contracts), Ericsson (21), Gemalto (26) and Vodafone (31, of which 7 are for third parties). All these vendors provide connectivity management tools primarily. Actility is one of the few start-ups that has managed to capture a new opportunity in the connectivity market by enabling LPWA networks, while established vendors continue to deliver cellular management solutions.
Cumulocity and PTC have the highest number of application enablement platform deals. However, telecoms vendors are absent from this market despite having launched similar solutions. For example, Nokia introduced its IMPACT platform but is yet to announce any public deployments. Huawei, NEC and ZTE have a limited number of public deals, which are mainly for connectivity and device management solutions. Cloud and business solution providers such as AWS, IBM and Microsoft Azure are also not high on the operators’ supplier list for IoT but they offer cloud-hosting solutions.
As operators gain strength in the IoT market, their IoT goals shift from providing basic coverage to improving the quality and range of services. Tracking these goals and how they change will help platform vendors understand and optimise their solutions to meet the operators’ varying requirements.
The author is Ahmed Ali
Ahmed is the lead analyst for Analysys Mason’s IoT Platforms and Technology research programme. His research covers IoT software, applications and solutions used by service providers to enable their IoT offerings.
 For more details, see www.analysysmason.com/IoT-platform-contracts-tracker.