O2 reveals Internet of Things strategy

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Speaking exclusively to Mobile News, O2 digital director David Plumb says M2M and IoT market is maturing

O2 Digital Director David Plumb says M2M technology is on the cusp of moving from the “analogue” age to “digital” as more companies take up managed connectivity.

Speaking exclusively to Mobile News, Plumb said M2M and the Internet of Things (IoT) was traditionally just putting a SIM card in any machine for a single, basic function.

The market, according to Plumb, has moved on significantly and operators, including O2, are no longer just providers of connectivity.

“We’re moving from basic connectivity to managed connectivity,” Plumb said. Look at our partnership with (car manufacturer) Tesla. If your car goes anywhere in Europe then we will manage the roaming of the car, making sure it gets things like streaming music or turn-by-turn navigation. It is more of a managed service.

“That is akin to the move from analogue to digital and now we’re moving in to the next step, which sees data from multiple devices come together to make different decisions.”

O2 parent company Telefonica announced a partnership with Tesla last year to develop connected cars – vehicles with in-built connectivity for services including SatNav, streaming and telematics.

It is one of a number of partnerships the operator has struck, including an R&D agreement with Samsung to develop one-use connected buttons and US-taxi firm Uber.

Plumb said the agreement with Uber, which sees O2 provide connectivity to it’s drivers in the UK, is an example of how services can be integrated in to O2’s wider offering.

Uber can send promotions using data from O2 priority. For example, if a customer has a Priority reward at the O2 Arena, the customer may then be offered an Uber to come and collect them.

When asked if he was concerned with a recent Analysys Mason report that selected Vodafone as the leader in M2M technology, Plumb said O2 was not concerned with what his rivals were doing in the space.

He added: “We are not focussing on our rivals. We need to be working with digital businesses to create new smarter services.

“We’re working on a number of trials in the home and the car where we’re looking at propositions for consumers that use their data to create personalised smart services.

“For us, that is a more important focus than how many SIMs we can put in traditional volume M2M methods. That’s what makes our approach different to our rivals.”

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