Swedish telecoms company Ericsson and software giant Microsoft are partnering to offer mobile network-based IoT services to enterprises.
Ericsson launched its IoT Accelerator back in April last year, a service that brings together horizontal IoT platforms with Ericsson’s own features and a marketplace where customers from sectors such as public safety, utilities, transport and smart cities can connect with partners and make money from their products.
Its capabilities included data management, billing, device management, connectivity services and analytics.
Now, the company’s IoT platform will allow enterprises to deploy IoT products using Microsoft Azure, connecting end users directly to the ecosystem of mobile operators using Ericsson’s connectivity management service called Device Connection Platform (DCPC).
This service gives telecom operators the ability to design, launch and evolve managed IoT connectivity offerings for businesses requiring cellular connectivity. It also provides companies with full control and automation capabilities to handle the connectivity for their IoT devices.
Sam George, Microsoft’s director of Azure IoT said that the partnership would give its customers and partners “more choices to control their cellular connected IoT devices”.
Grundfos, the Danish pump manufacturer, is the first company to have trialled the offering from Ericsson and Microsoft to manage smart connected water pumps.
The company’s group vice president, Lars Enevoldsen, said that the pre-integration on offer allowed his company “to focus on providing added value and new services to [its] customers”.
According to Rob Bamforth, analyst at IT advisory company Quocirca, while licensed spectrum is still important for delivering broad connectivity, the value for customers is moving from the network to the applications. This, he said, is why he believes the partnership matters to Ericsson.
“It’s important for Ericsson to be a central part of the post-voice world. IT cloud services and software companies like Microsoft will increasingly push this model away from the focus on bearer networks, towards a generic, virtualized network capability. Therefore, having base stations and cell towers will still be vitally important, but owning a network of them like a traditional mobile carrier, will no longer be sufficient,” he said.
“Traditionally, Ericsson has formed strong relationships with mobile network operators, so this move up the application and service value chain is important,” he added.
Last year, Ericsson teamed up with Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping company to develop global IoT solutions for the ocean cargo transport industry.