Enterprise mobile apps: carriers help overcome geography

By Kishore Jethanandani

Mobile broadband carriers are discovering their unique latent strengths in provision of mobile enterprise platforms and applications stretching across multiple geographies. They see in the provision of a seamless mobile experience, for nationwide or global enterprises, an opportunity to increase their margins.

Enterprises tend to use a variety of operating systems and enterprise software in each of their geographical locations or even functional departments. An increasingly mobile workforce does not want to be hamstrung by backend systems unable to communicate with each other. AT&T offers the Me Mobile Enterprise application platform which provides a consistent mobilization experience across multiple platforms and adapts to new ones that emerge every so often.

Frank Jules, the President of AT&T’s Global Solutions explained, at the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference in November of 2012, that he sees in his company’s global network the bedrock to host and integrate platforms for cloud, mobile, enterprise software from Oracle and SAP, security and applications.  AT&T announced at the conference a new investment program Project Velocity, IP that will invest a billion dollars in enterprise solutions of a total investment of 14 billion dollars.

McDonalds, one of AT&T’s global clients, wanted to replace its static menu boards with digital signage that would refresh data frequently with information on prices, meals and disclosures. AT&T has a hot spot in almost all outlets of MacDonald’s around the world. It built a portal to manage the delivery of data from a central point for display of changing information in all McDonald’s restaurants. It collaborated with another company for the display boards.

In its effort to capitalize on a growing mobile cloud business, Verizon consolidated its Verizon Business, Terremark Cloud business, Cybertrust, the global wholesale business, and the enterprise and government business from Verizon Wireless into a single Verizon Enterprise Solutions Business and reoriented it to address the needs of eight verticals rather than geographies explained Mr. John Strutton, President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, at the Jefferies Global Technology, Internet, Media & Telecom Conference in May 2012. In machine-to-machine communications, it sees a major opportunity to increase margins with professional services for integration of hardware, software and networks.  The contract value of such projects is 2.5 to 3 times more than the transportation business for comparable investments in effort and capital.

Verizon was able to solve an intractable problem for the railway business with its packaged solutions. Twenty-two of its long-line railway customers were faced with a formidable challenge to comply with a regulatory stipulation to stop or slow down a train should a driver become unexpectedly unconscious. Verizon, in collaboration with several partners, was able to provide a solution for remote monitoring of railway operations for managing the speed of trains.

Enterprises, unlike the mobile consumer market, are not going to be satisfied with point solutions. Instead, they need solutions able to complete a series of business processes. Carriers are well positioned to serve them with their extensive networks and deep pockets to invest in integrated solutions.

This post was previously published in the Innovation Generation of the UBM Techweb

On the M2M road to pervasive intelligence

By Kishore Jethanandani

Machine-to-Machine (M2M), the tiny radio devices, sensors that feed bits of data from activities of objects such as moving trucks, have a whole lot more value when the data from each of them is aggregated to draw intelligence.  This would be performance metrics like the expected time of arrival for trucks or cargo monitoring such as temperatures in cabins of vehicles carrying perishables.

Driving safety performance has improved significantly as accident rates are lowered with detailed monitoring of driver behavior. Risky driving behavior is predicted based on real-time data, aggregated from a variety of sensors, on acceleration, brake use, maneuvers and turns that are most likely to cause accidents. Drivers are cautioned when their behavior risks accidents.  Studies undertaken by Trimble show accident rates were lowered by 45% and corresponding insurance and related costs cut by 50%.

Where multimodal transportation is involved, data aggregated from the gamut of means of transportation uncovers opportunities for business gains that would otherwise be not available. Portvision, for example, gained visibility into the movement of vessels by taking advantage of the AIS (Automated Identification System) which is otherwise used for collision avoidance by the Coast Guard. The data can tell, in real time, when the vessel is close enough to the shore to benefit from switching to cellular communications. Ships tend to spend a great deal of time close to the shore, before the cargo is unloaded, and can significantly lower the use of the more expensive satellite communications.

Telecom carriers, specialist M2M solution providers, strategic alliances and M2M marketplaces are coming together to interconnect sensors, devices and networks so that the data can flow seamlessly to central databases where it can be parsed for information. A global alliance of KPN, NTT DoCoMo, Rogers Communications, SingTel, Telefónica, through its Telefónica Digital unit, Telstra, and Vimpelcom will use a distinctive SIM card, a common web interface and will centrally manage M2M devices. They will all collaborate with Jasper Wireless to manage the M2M network. Verizon acquired Hughes Telematics in June 2012 for its fleet management solutions. Orange acquired Data and Mobile in January 2012 for its fleet management software. Masternaut entered into a strategic alliance with Telefonica for joint marketing of M2M and related fleet management solutions. Deutsche Telecom created a global M2M marketplace where the thousands of vendors could find selling opportunities and for customers to do comparison shopping.

Transportation and Logistics leads as the target market by Communication Service Providers for their M2M services. A survey conducted by Informa found that 52% of the carriers are targeting this industry.

Real-time M2M powered fleet management enables new services, cuts costs and speeds up regulatory compliance. In times of disasters or just adverse weather, vehicles can be tangled in accidents, stranded or rerouted. Software, such as that available from Agile Access Control, provides data on the status of fleets in real-time for contingency planning.

Data for compliance with hours-of-service regulations for drivers is not trustworthy as it was collected manually and was prone to errors and omissions. With M2M enabled fleet management software like Qualcomm’s hours of service application, tracking of hours of service is automated.

FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) governed rules obligate drivers to prepare a daily DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report) and submit it to headquarters for tracking maintenance or safety issues. With M2M enabled software like Cadec Global, the tedium is cut and processing of the data happens continually in real-time.

In the supply chain, the devil of underperformance is in the details of minute operational data. The data is impossible to track manually with any degree of accuracy. M2M will help to keep the devil at bay.

A version of this article was previously published by Innovation Generation hosted by UBM Techweb

Mobile Collaboration in enterprises: Latencies and Real-time Decision-making

Technological barriers to collaboration on the fly are beginning to be broken. On-premise video-conferencing solutions exist in the market today while mobile video-conferencing is in its infancy. Larger teams will need ability for point-to-multi-point video-conferencing solutions. A project manager, for example, will like to share visuals with multiple members of his team executing a task. Video conferencing is now possible with mobile devices and they can handle up to ten participants. Communications with multiple members of a team are likely to result in media clutter which can be reduced with selective role and context-specific distribution of content.

Read the full white paper here

Mobile Collaboration in Health Sector

Wider adoption of remote care is now possible with the panoply of technological tools now available such as sensors, medical devices, smart mobile devices and internet video. The sensors let doctors read vital signs from a distance, robots let them do hospital rounds more frequently without being present, video lets them see a patient in another location, smart mobile devices with embedded cameras let them track emergency situations in real time and internet connections let them download images from distant storage devices.


Read the full white paper here