Vodafone IoT chief gets big promotion in NB-IoT push

Vodafone IoT chief gets big promotion in NB-IoT push

Erik Brenneis, head of Vodafone’s IoT division, is to replace Jan Geldmacher as CEO of Vodafone Global Enterprise, a sign which analysts say is pushing the future of the Internet of Things.

The news was made public earlier this week, although Vodafone’s website still lists Brenneis as director of the firm’s Machine-to-Machine (M2M) unit.

Brenneis, formerly of Siemens and Cinterion Wireless Modules, joined Vodafone in October 2009 and oversaw the acquisition of telematics supplier Cobra Automotive Technologies (now Vodafone Automotive business). His role has entailed driving Vodafone’s M2m growth, business strategy and products, and he has been responsible for managing a team of over 1,200 M2M and automotive experts.

By working with a number of partners, Vodafone provides a wide array of end-to-end solutions, from M2M connectivity (via its SIM cards and IoT Connectivity Platform) to hardware (tablets to asset tracking sensors).

In terms of Internet of Things case studies, Vodafone has worked with the UK’s Environment Agency on improving flood defences, and on another project where remote sensors and M2M SIM cards are used so elderly patients can be cared for from their home.

The operator has arguably found most success around telematics solutions for fleet operators, although it was revealed this week how it was working on providing M2M connectivity for a new exoskeleton used to help improve the mobility of stroke and spinal cord injury patients. This ensures reliable communications for diagnostics and improved access to patient data, helping to improve the user experience with the suit.

In addition, Vodafone has been heavily involved in the first commercial trial of narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT). Indeed, a NB-IoT smart parking scheme has also just been rolled out in Spain, in conjunction with partners Huawei. There have also been successful trials in Australia.

In an email to Internet of Business earlier this week, Analysys Mason research director Tom Rebbeck called the change in job titles an ‘endorsement’ of Vodafone’s Internet of Things strategy, noting further that it has been winning some big telecom operator deals with automotive manufacturers like General Motors. It grew to 38 million connections in the last year, up 37 percent on the previous year, with IoT service revenues alone rising almost a third (29 percent).

Rebbeck further noted that the Internet of Things will feature in more and more digital transformation projects.

“With Erik leading VGE, we would expect to see IoT elements gradually incorporated into broader digital transformation projects. This is all part of the gradual maturing of enterprise IoT.”

In an email to Internet of Business, a representative from Vodafone said: “IoT continues to be a growth engine of strategic importance for Vodafone. Erik will continue to drive the IoT business until his successor is appointed.”