Author: Robert Brunbäck, CMO, Telenor Connexion
The evolution of a connected service – Why it is important to take a lifecycle view!
The uptake of M2M or connected services in various devices, machines and vehicles is growing steadily and from some 15 years in the business of realizing connected services there are a few learning’s. First of all, many of our customers are launching products with lifecycles of 5-10 years. As the product itself is connected, for example a car, it also means the connected service can constantly evolve, hence the connected service experience in a car should always feel up to date. In a hyper-competitive global market place the lifecycle view is important. Making it easier for customers not only to build a connected service to reduce time to market, but also to efficiently manage and operate the service over time is critical. Finally, ensuring that the service is flexible enough to evolve, as market needs and technology are constantly changing, is equally important.
Let me give a couple of examples, starting with the connected car – within a few years it has moved from basic safety and breakdown assistance services to multiple services both within and outside the car. These include navigation with real time traffic information and weather reports, streaming internet radio and other infotainment services. Pay-as-you-drive insurance schemes, road tolls and remote diagnostics to enable proactive service bookings are other examples of connected services. Additionally, the services are deployed in more and more countries. Hence, the connectivity needs and the services around connected products are drastically changing.
Another example is the home alarm; from being just an SMS transmission in the event of an alarm, it is becoming a communication hub in the home, remotely opening doors, and steering home appliances. Of course, more advanced alarm services can now be offered, such as real-time visuals and updates when your children get home from school.
Design smart from start
The key to success is to build in a flexible approach in the offering to enable constant fine tuning. The early stages of solution design are important. Designing based on open standards and avoiding technical lock-ins is of course essential if your product is going to be in market for the next 10 years. Telenor Connexion’s eCAF service based on open standards is providing the means to significantly reduce development cost and communication cost over time, which in turn will make our customers more competitive. This also means we can take an agnostic approach to communication technology.
In addition, as more and more products are going online, hacking attempts are likely to increase. Building in security features, optimized for wireless communication is getting increasingly important and an aspect you should pay full attention to right from start.
Operating connected services across different regions and technologies is increasingly complex and requires end-to-end know-how to ensure the best end-user experience. The task grows naturally over time as volumes are increasing. Lately, more and more customers choose to outsource the entire operations of connected services to fully gain synergies our existing setup of 24/7 global operations with dedicated expertise, who can act proactively, secure functionality and give peace of mind.
Evolve to stay competitive
Our mission is to achieve the most efficient and high quality communication for the customer needs now and in the future, ensuring that we stay flexible for future changes in technology (2G/3G/4G issue, eUICC, Wi-Fi, Satellite, etc.) or regulation as well as changing business needs. As the market evolves over time it is critical to enable flexible business logics – ensuring our customers can try out new business models to capture new market segments and make it easier to consume connected services. In a changing world our customers will constantly evolve and tune their go-to-market proposition, which in turn requires new innovative flexible billing and charging services on our end.
Enabling connected services is so much more than supplying SIM and connectivity. Taking an end-to-end and holistic approach is critical to fully identify the key requirements that the solution should fulfill from the start and throughout the entire product lifecycle to remain competitive.