Unravelling the world of M2M connectivity

Jon-Paul Clarke, Business Development Director, Wireless Logic explains that the monetisation of M2M/IoT connectivity shows exceptional potential… in the right hands.

Whilst the global technology sector fuels the frenzy which is the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), behind the hype, mind-bending forecasts, and the fact that this truly is the next industrial revolution, there’s still a job to do in relation to the Machine 2 Machine (M2M) connectivity, or as we often refer to it… the IoT ‘plumbing’. For comms dealers/resellers, there is a huge opportunity for commecial growth as businesses consider the growing number of applications that lend themselves to automation – for industrial, consumer and enterprise.

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For any application, a business will need to consider a series of critical factors when deploying a communication platform for M2M/IoT. These include: – Type of connectivity eg. Wireless, Cellular, Zigbee; Size of data to be transmitted; Associated costs; and Security and Reliability – what impact will any breach of the platform have on the overall operation? By addressing each of these points in depth, connectivity solution providers can present suitable platforms that will deliver communications tailored and fit for purpose.

Focusing on cellular, the unravelling process continues… one or multiple mobile networks, stationary or mobile application, local or global SIM connectivity, speed requirement, public or private Fixed IP, and the need or not for a virtual private network (VPN)? What this highlights is that to scope a connectivity platform correctly, due diligence is required to create an optimal technology infrastructure.

Process identified, the economics then comes into play… the cost of sending/receiving data, the ability to avoid shocking and unforeseen bills – (yes, billshock can be as prevalent within M2M connectivity as it does in the voice world), and the consideration to the possible Capital Expenditure costs when implementing secure two-way communication with VPNs.

My intention is not to scare prospective providers of cellular M2M connectivity. But it is to accentuate the realisation that our world demands guidance to help customers navigate the many pitfalls that can be encountered. And from here, it is who to turn to next? Working with MNOs or Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to fulfil your customers’ needs? Of course, my role is to push the route of MSPs as they bring a more flexible, agnostic approach to cellular platforms. MSPs will respond quickly, are undoubtedly more agile in formulating suitable packages, and have the ability to layer on Value Added Solutions which MNOs may struggle to deliver within limited time frames. But perhaps above all, you should view MSPs as allies in your quest to open new connectivity doors. Whether it’s through revenue share or simply the confidence of having a team of specialists that can support your sales proposition, there is a vital role for providers such as Wireless Logic to partner dealers/resellers. For us, 1.5million connected SIM-enabled devices across both the UK and throughout Europe is evidence of the influence an MSP can have in this growing and demanding sector.
So, the sector awaits. Approach with care. And enjoy the huge potential with the right support on your side.

Recognition for Wireless Logic’s M2M Platforms

Wireless Logic are delighted to have won the Corporate LiveWire 2015 Innovation & Excellence Award for M2M Platforms. The annual technology awards span a wide scope of industry and service sectors and are detailed online. Oliver Tucker, Co-founder and Managing Director comments: “2015 has already been a memorable year as the organisation restructured welcoming CVC Capital Partners to our board. Awards such as these are testimony to the diligent work performed by our technology development teams in creating platforms that meet the fast-moving demands of the world of M2M/Internet of Things.”

Wireless Logic achieves Top 2 place in new UK Megabuyte50 Tech business performance charts.

Wireless Logic has scored highly within the ‘Megabuyte50’ awards which identify the 50 best financially performing, privately owned companies in the UK mid-market. The awards differ from other ‘growth’ awards in the superior rigour of their financial analysis and their specific focus on pure-breed technology companies, rather than companies with a peripheral involvement with technology.

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Ranked highly in second place, Wireless Logic rounds off a frenetic 12 months which has seen the organisation demonstrate unprecedented growth in all of its territories. The year has concluded with a change in investment partners – CVC Capital Partners have invested into the organisation following a four year partnership with ECI Partners. During ECI’s tenure Wireless Logic expanded internationally, more than doubled its workforce and nearly tripled the underlying subscriber base to circa 1.5m.

The Megabuyte50 provides a highly sophisticated and influential benchmarking reference for companies or the investor and advisory communities seeking to understand relative peer performance. Companies’ rankings are calculated using ‘The Megabuyte Scorecard’, a proprietary benchmarking methodology developed by the research team at Megabuyte, pooling over 50 years of combined experience assessing the performance of software, IT and telecoms services companies. The methodology uses seven key measures: two each for growth, margins and cash flow, as well as overall size. These measures are then weighted to provide the optimum balance for mid-market and later-stage companies. 2015 is the inaugural year of the Megabuyte50 awards.

The citation within the Megabuyte50 award report read: Wireless Logic has achieved consistent organic growth, expanding EBITDA margins, excellent operating cash conversion and, with low capex requirements, high FCF generation from selling airtime and related managed M2M services to enterprises. This impressive record has just recently been rewarded in a 6.1x return for ECI Partners after less than four years’ ownership, following the recent buyout by CVC.

Oliver Tucker, Co-founder and Managing Director, Wireless Logic said: “Being recognised by sector bodies such as Megabuyte endorse the work of the entire Wireless Logic team as we continue to drive the business forward. In the M2M/Internet of Things industrial revolution, organisations can simply ride with the market and grow in sync. Our commitment is to significantly exceed that growth curve, achieved by developing better services, more innovation and first class customer service. “

About Megabuyte
Megabuyte is an independent research provider, tracking the corporate and financial affairs of some 1,500 of Europe’s key public and private companies in the ICT Services and Software sectors. Megabuyte’s founder and CEO, Ian Spence, is one of the technology sector’s most established and respected financial analysts. In January 2015, and for the second year running (since the inaugural awards), Spence was recognised by Debrett’s and The Sunday Times as one of the 20 most influential people in the UK technology sector.

For more information on Megabuyte50, click here.

Co-founder Philip Cole sets out a vision for a connected future

Co-founder and European Sales Director Philip Cole is featured in this month’s edition of M2M Now. In the article Philip maps out Wireless Logic’s impressive journey to date and examines the changing role of managed services providers as the M2M/IoT gathers pace. To read the article in full,  click here.

Wireless Logic welcomes CVC Capital Partners as equity partners

  • CVC Capital Partners (‘CVC’) acquire stake from ECI Partners (‘ECI’)
  • Co-founders Oliver Tucker and Philip Cole prepare for new growth strategy
  • Wireless Logic’s market for M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) managed services forecast for explosive growth

London, Tuesday 10 February 2015: Wireless Logic is pleased to announce that CVC Capital Partners have invested into the organisation following a four year partnership with ECI Partners. During ECI’s period of investment Wireless Logic has expanded internationally, opening offices in France, Germany and Spain, more than doubled its workforce and nearly tripled the underlying subscriber base to circa 1.5m.

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M2M managed services platforms, such as Wireless Logic, enable the ‘Internet of Things’, the mega-trend of the 21st century. The market for M2M connectivity and related services is forecast to grow from €7.1 billion in 2014 to €22.5 billion in 2019 and subscriptions from 214 to 600 million in the same period, representing a CAGR of 25.9% and 22.9% respectively. Gartner estimates that the number of wireless connected devices will reach 26 billion by 2020.* Wireless Logic is at the forefront of this trend, providing secure connectivity across 26 European mobile networks and satellite. Through their ‘one window to all networks’ platform, they overlay a range of value-added services including secure VPN, device management, and global mapping solutions.

Founded in 1999 by Managing Director Oliver Tucker and Sales Director Philip Cole, Wireless Logic is now recognised as Europe’s leading provider of M2M Managed Services and has ambitious plans to continue its market growth.

Oliver Tucker – Managing Director, Wireless Logic, said: “Through ECI’s tenure, Wireless Logic has evolved and strengthened our market position both in the UK and across Europe. Our thanks must go to their stewardship throughout this time. And in welcoming CVC, we are looking forward to raising the bar with substantial investment across our technology platforms and further product diversification within this ever-changing and rapidly-growing market.”

Philip Cole – Sales Director, Wireless Logic, said: “We are delighted to welcome the CVC team onto the board of Wireless Logic. Their global network, reach and resources will be invaluable as we consolidate and grow the business in both existing and new territories.”
* Source: Gartner

 

About CVC Capital Partners
CVC is one of the world’s leading private equity and investment advisory firms. Founded in 1981, CVC today has a network of over 20 offices and over 300 employees throughout Europe, Asia and the US. Currently, CVC manages funds on behalf of over 300 investors from North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, who entrust their capital to CVC for periods of 10 years or more. To date, CVC has secured commitments of over US$60 billion in funds from a diverse and loyal investor base, completing over 300 investments in a wide range of industries and countries across the globe, with an aggregate transaction value of over US$120 billion.

In 2014, CVC formed a new team – CVC Growth Partners, led by John Clark, Managing Partner, to target smaller growth-oriented companies through its dedicated CVC Growth Fund. The fund focuses on middle-market, high-growth companies in the software and technology-enabled business services sector. The fund primarily targets equity investments between $50mn and $200mn in North America and Europe.

For further information, please visit www.cvc.com

 

Wireless Logic featured in Southern Tech 100 2015

The new Southern Tech 100 is a £6 billion array of diverse businesses from innovative pathfinders to ’box shifters’. For the fifth year running, overall turnover has risen and now stands at £6.1 billion, up from £5.8 billion last year.  Employee numbers have risen to around 18,600.

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Sponsored by Barclays, intellectual property specialists Marks & Clerk, business advisers Chantrey Vellacott and recruitment specialists GCS, the Southern Tech 100 is The Business Magazine’s annual listing of the top 100 private, independent technology companies in an area stretching from Banbury to the Isle of Wight.

Cloud companies have made their way up the chart with analysts believing 3D printing, the ’Internet of Things’ (IoT) and drones to be the buzz developments of 2015.There is no doubt that as technology requirements among businesses shifts from hardware to software and remote services, more change will come.

Whilst at the top of the list is £1 billion-plus turnover IT product supplier Westcoast, Wireless Logic comes in the top 35 demonstrating both its size and rapid growth over the last three years. Within the entire Southern Tech 100, the organisation is amongst the fastest growing independent enterprises within the sector.

Oliver Tucker, Managing Director of M2M managed services provider Wireless Logic comments: “Lists such as The Southern Tech 100 demonstrate the breadth of business talent that permeates across the south of the UK. We are at the forefront of M2M and IoT communication platforms – it’s good to know that we are working alongside a wealth of technology enterprise that, without doubt, has a positive influence on our approach as we look to build upon our growth strategy.”

To view the full list of The Southern Tech 100 2015 list, click here.


 

M2M’s Big Data and the avoidance of Big Bother…

Matt McPherson of Wireless Logic explains the changing space of Big Data within M2M: As the proliferation of M2M applications and the Internet of Things gathers pace, whilst the presence of ‘Big Data’ is now the norm, the management and control of such data traffic is more and more in the spotlight.

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From the humble asset tracking device of just a few years ago, the measurement of fleet activity is now a totally different business. One SIM can now 2-way transmit a mass of structured and unstructured data gathered from several different applications. Today’s users take the volume of data for granted, yet combined with location, security, speed of delivery and the critical nature of their content, Big Data can now enable a fleet operator to run a more efficient business, in a safer environment, with a better maintained fleet.

Managing and controlling the data usage is now high on the list of priorities for major M2M estate owners. This is clearly defined through the checklists in ‘Requests for Information’ (RFIs) when seeking new or alternative connectivity providers. Whilst secure data transmission is often a vital requisite along with suitably high and stable bandwidth, the need to have a ‘real-time view’ on an estate’s SIM data traffic is fast becoming a dealmaker/deal breaker as organisations seek to tighten their grip on the costs of airtime.

So how can the sector deliver on these expectations? Global players like Telefónica have invested well in platforms like Jasper – on large-scale single network deployments – and this infrastructure meets the market need well. They are also answering the call for value as larger Gb data tariffs are becoming very much the norm. Yet, the market wants more… European and global players won’t be tied to one network and one platform. And asking them to manage several control portals with the complexities and time limitations that involves is a step too far. Big multi-network data SIM users want a simple life.

Answers to the demands of major SIM estate players come in many forms. An example of a ‘factory fresh’ solution is the recently placed contract from a German-based fleet organisation that has now overlaid five network platforms onto Wireless Logic’s ONE superstructure. With ONE, the client can manage and control data usage in real-time through one window, accessing existing network platforms. It can tailor billing arrangements in line with their existing work processes – in this case integrating numerous network costs into single cost centres. And most importantly, it has complete control over 50,000 SIMs.

Real-time visibility, the ability to alert and switch off, plus the simplicity of deploying single commands across multiple networks are all key benefits in managing Big Data applications effectively. The avoidance of ‘Bill Shock’ is freeing up estate managers to focus on other important aspects of their SIM estates.

The prospect of even bigger ‘Big Data’ is just around the corner. Today, streaming video of security applications, fleet management and e-health devices are all examples of data-hungry solutions that will continue to demand more. Yet reports about the coming together of IoT and social media are now raising eyebrows as industrial applications meet consumerisation head on… the extent of data traffic holds no boundaries. For now, MNOs and managed service providers such as Wireless Logic must remain focused on empowering major users of data to keep a firm handle on their SIM management. Big Data – with good management – means no bother.

End-to-end solutions within security-conscious ANPR market

For Local Authorities, Police Authorities and organisations involved in the use of camera technology such as CCTV and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), the transference of critical data securely and efficiently is a key aspect in creating resilient systems. Challenges that such operators can face include the need for static IP to the device, the creation of secure connects and interconnects, and the overall management and control of numerous deployed units connected, in the main, across cellular networks.

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To implement appropriate platforms, camera operators turn to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Managed Services Providers to steer a course to suitable solutions. And it is here that seeking relevant and cost-effective connectivity platforms can mean success or pain. Today the choice of provider and their sector knowledge can dictate the direction in creating systems that work, or ones that excel – tailored to the precise demands of the sector.

As an example of this, pain was felt by a UK Police Authority in setting up an estate of ANPR cameras – both in-vehicle and fixed sites. Having initially looked at an ‘off the shelf’ MNO solution as part of an existing voice-focused framework agreement, the structure proposed was far from efficient; individual VPN tunnels to each device that required complex management with unacceptable latency resulting in poor levels of data transfer & connectivity. In essence, the authority was to employ an SME solution bolted together with high latency levels. The structure was further challenged due to the potential of ‘bill shock’ – the unexpected costs associated with cellular connectivity when high amounts of data are billed monthly, over and beyond the estimated usage levels.

Reviewing the planned platform, the Police Authority turned to Wireless Logic as a Managed Services Provider to identify a more focused ‘end to end’ solution to the cellular connectivity challenge. Such organisations bring both industry specific and flexible thinking to the table, and importantly, are ‘network agnostic’ so that customers can use one or multiple MNOs within their chosen platform. This was particularly relevant given that the authority had identified a need to engage several networks to ensure acceptable signal strength in their multiple locations. Widely acknowledged as Europe’s leading M2M Managed Services Provider with over 1.5m SIM subscriptions in management, the Wireless Logic team were able to deliver a consultancy-led review and approach to the project employing direct experience gained from similarly implemented applications.

To counter the complex management of multiple VPN tunnels overcoming the latency of such a solution and associated costs, the first recommendation was to employ a single VPN terminating at a demilitarised zone outside of the authority’s internal network. The network platform utilised was Wireless Logic’s NetPro, a single, encrypted and highly resilient structure with dual-failover, sitting across all of the major MNOs within the UK. CAPEX costs for the setting-up of such infrastructures are normally prohibitive to organisations that don’t typically factor in expense for secure connectivity. With NetPro, CAPEX is avoided with costs seen as OPEX when combined with monthly SIM subscriptions.

To resolve the potential of bill shock, this was achieved through the integration of ‘SIMPro’, Wireless Logic’s SIM provisioning and control platform. When linked with a SIM’s fixed IP and the NetPro VPN, SIMPro can individually monitor and control data usage in real-time, setting up alerts and instructions when thresholds are reached. To create a seamless one-stop procurement, Wireless Logic provided pre-configured CISCO routers and other associated hardware. This, along with the connectivity and platforms, enabled the authority to acquire the entire solution through a single source.

Provided as a proof of concept model, the trial initially connected 70 mobile camera sites. With minimal commitment and commercial risk from the outset, the solution allowed the authority to road test the infrastructure with confidence prior to a major rollout featuring multiple fixed and mobile units.

Jon-Paul Clarke, Business Development Director comments: “This solution highlights how public sector camera operators can effectively streamline connectivity services, decrease both CAPEX and OPEX and meet the dictates of delivering secure and resilient two-way communication. We were able to deliver relevant market knowledge and expertise to deliver a comprehensive Enterprise-grade platform, fit for purpose and highly scalable. Working with the procurement processes of the public sector, we were able to provide a complete end-to-end solution without the need for the authority to enlist a number of specialist companies as part of the supply chain. And importantly, we were able to bring the solution to the market rapidly.”

For more information on fixed and mobile camera solutions, contact the business development team today on 01494 679 800.

SIMPro M2M SIM Provisioning Platform receives further customer-centric upgrades

  • Customer-centric enhancements put SIM-based M2M/IoT device owners in complete control
  • One platform window gives access and management to multiple mobile network and satellite connected devices
  • Features focus on the vital role of cost control across huge SIM-controlled IoT estates

Following the major launch of Wireless Logic’s SIM provisioning platform SIMPro in March, the first upgrade has now rolled out during November which sees a number of new features that are tailored to their growing UK and European client base. This results from a significant investment throughout 2014 and further expenditure expected in the months ahead.

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As the core to the organisation’s 1.5m subscriptions, SIMPro allows customers to manage and control their connected devices across multiple networks, all through one easy-to-use window. The Spring launch witnessed an entire rebuild from the ground-up to create a fully standalone platform useable by customers with contracted subscriptions with Wireless Logic, and through a licence arrangement where airtime contracts are held elsewhere.

This month sees the introduction to a range of tools that will further streamline the SIM activation process with more intuitive functionality for commissioning airtime tariffs. Additionally, users can now manage how their monthly billing processes are delivered following the full integration of the Wireless Logic billing platform ‘BillPro’.

These further enhancements come at a time when the market is seeing exponential growth in connected devices. That growth is accompanied by the need to manage costs across multiple SIM-based assets and to ensure the avoidance of ‘billshock’ – the term associated with SIMs that present with unexpected high monthly costs. With customers managing SIM estates into the hundreds of thousands, it is vital that complete visibility is available to each and every SIM, regardless of network or location. For Wireless Logic, this essential functionality comes into its own when combined with its secure private network overlay ‘NetPro’, which gives customers the capability to monitor real-time data use and react if and when devices demonstrate unusual patterns of activity. With fixed-IP SIMs and networks terminating through one VPN, management, alert and response procedures become more effective and seamless.

SIMPro can integrate easily into customers’ own systems with a new range of APIs. A recent integration has seen a major European transportation concern where SIMs from four major networks will now be managed across the SIMPro platform acting as a single control point.

Hannah Hailstone, Wireless Logic’s Customer Service Manager recognises the strategic importance of SIM management and control for customers across the spectrum: “With over 95% of our SIM base now under the SIMPro platform, the benefits of empowering our customers to shape the way their devices connect are huge. Control is now in their hands, and with multiple permissions-based access points, it means that organisations can now perform actions, interrogate for granular information and define rules for complex billing arrangements. These latest enhancements add to the user-experience and initial feedback has been positive.”

M2M and the Internet of Things. The World of Connectivity is not enough

Matt McPherson, Wireless Logic’s Sales Manager explains why the M2M/IoT connectivity market is changing:

As markets evolve, changing needs means there’s a constant need for change. That’s no different for the world of connected devices within the M2M sector. In 15 years the Wireless Logic offering has changed significantly – from simple connectivity to a diverse portfolio of value add services.

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What we’ve recognised is our customers’ desire to have a single partner for associated services that are offered in seamless packages. By achieving this, we are ensuring that costs are managed through an OPEX model as opposed to a CAPEX one. By using connectivity as a subscribed cost, we now integrate services that are relevant to M2M communication, and billed as a monthly contracted fee. In many cases, such services may have been cost-prohibitive if they’d been purchased separately. An example of this is DevicePro, Wireless Logic’s device management tool. The newly developed tool is device agnostic, delivering a range of module/device services including management and control, remote diagnostics, network management and a dynamic knowledge bank resource. Combined with connectivity, cloud-based DevicePro provides a level of application functionality designed to save time and increase efficiency across entire device estates, regardless of module or type.

The world of connectivity is also not as straightforward as it once was. European and global programmes require borderless solutions. More and more, we are working with customers who have a range of networks connecting devices and assets. And it is in these scenarios that the market is demanding universal platforms that can integrate network services through one window. Overlaying the likes of Jasper, Ericcson, Transcend etc makes operational sense. Wireless Logic’s ONE platform achieves this through APIs to create one window which can provision, manage and control multiple networks and tariffs, regardless of whether the SIMs themselves are contracted through Wireless Logic.

Seeing the ONE platform in action, we are about to implement its operation managing four European networks with up to 50,000 connected assets as part of rapidly growing mobilisation application. Combined with our VPN, the customer will consolidate the entire estate giving complete control, tailored billing by asset/user group, and significant savings through the subscribed cost per asset. And importantly, the customer will retain relationships with the MNOs where contracts dictate.

As a global partner to all of the major MNOs, managed services providers like Wireless Logic are overlaying what are already excellent offerings to deliver communication platforms that precisely meet customers’ requirements. Whether it is through the provision of private IP over our NetPro VPN or MapPro mapping solutions in partnership with Google and HERE, we are demonstrating to the market that M2M connectivity in its simplest form is simply not enough.

With the M2m/IoT market heading for more data rich and business critical applications, the focus on resilient and service-focused connectivity is key. Overlaid managed services will continue to grow to meet the demands of this this hi-tech industrial revolution. We will continue to push the boundaries to ensure the world of connected devices is better connected.