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At the still ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, there was an interesting announcement from SAP and Ericsson about M2M (Machine 2 Machine) solutions and services.  I’ve blogged about this topic in the past and I wanted to take a quick look at this new partnership.

 

What details were provided by the associated press release from Ericsson?

 

  • In an effort to meet the growing demand for machine-to-machine technology, Ericsson and SAP have signed an agreement to jointly market and sell cloud-based, machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions and services to enterprises via operators around the globe.  The solutions will be based on a combined software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering from Ericsson and SAP within M2M.
  • Ericsson and SAP are teaming up to deliver a connected cloud-based offering to operators that will remove those barriers,
  • In addition to solutions and technology, Ericsson will lend its consulting, systems integration and managed services, and complementary device and applications testing, as well as verification services to facilitate a faster time-to-market, efficient use of mobile network resources and an optimized user experience.

 

First analysis

  • This is an effort which includes cloud-based solutions from both Ericsson and SAP.  There is integration between the cloud solutions of the two companies.
  • This offering is more than just software but also includes services / consulting.
  • The press releases contain very few details about the actual solution and the involvement of the “HANA Platform” in the solution is very unclear.

Further analysis

 

I wanted to know more about SAP’s involvement in this solution so I started digging. 

 

I knew that Ericsson had already participated with SAP Research in its Business Web efforts but I I had no absolutely experience about Ericsson’s product line, so my first stop was to get more information about the “Device Connection Platform & Service Enablement Platform”. Here is a quick description:

 

Ericsson Device Connection Platform is a managed (provided as a service) connectivity platform for Mobile Operators and MVNOs for wholesale of M2M connectivity towards enterprises. It enables operators to address new revenue streams from a vast variety of devices while simplifying the process and reducing the cost of connecting them in order to benefit from economy of scale. The platform provides access to key functionalities including e.g. subscription management, device management and operator and enterprise self-service portals. [SOURCE]

 

This platform was perfect for the mobile operators but I didn’t really see how this related to SAP.   A video interview with Douglas Gilstrap (Head of Strategy, Ericsson) about the #M2M agreement didn’t really help me understand things. 

 

A blog from SAP's new VP of the Internet of Things Suhas Uliyar provided the first details about the various puzzle pieces in the solution.

 

Note: The puzzle pieces originates from Suhas but I added the column with my assumptions concerning who will provide the elements.

 

Puzzle Piece

Provided by

Connected end points (sensors, devices, machines) for transmitting and consuming data

Customer

A device connectivity platform such as Ericsson’s Device Connectivity Platform (EDCP) enabling machines to communicate over cellular networks

Ericsson

A mobile network operator providing the backbone and value added services making wireless connectivity possible

Mobile network operator

A device management platform to provide the infrastructure, agents and tools required to securely connect and control the end points

Not sure here…

A data management platform such as SAP HANA that provides the big data infrastructure to handle large volumes of data that are rapidly streamed from the end points and allows intelligent decision making through the use of analytics

SAP

Industry specific applications such as smart services for connected cars. While the applications themselves are stars in their own right, it’s their analytical capabilities that are critical to drive true business value for a company. What’s the point of collecting data if you can’t use the information to help gain competitive advantage and be a better run business?

SAP

 

Still hungry for details, I found a SAP Thought Leadership Paper from last year entitled “Machine-to-Machine Communication Significant Opportunity for Communications Service Providers” and I wanted to correlate this older description with the recent information.

 

I found more details about the potential architecture.

image001.jpg

I assume that Ericsson’s Device Connectivity Platform (EDCP) will be used in the connectivity layer.

 

Although the current announcement provides no details on the Platform enablement layer (Suhas only describes a device management layer), SAP already has concrete products associated with such functions (as seen below).

image002.jpg

SAP is already connecting its Mobility and M2M activities at least in terms of its public relations efforts.  The diagram above portrays the existing mobile solutions (SUP, and Afaria) in a M2M scenario.  These existing solutions are ideal for supporting 1000’s or 10,0000s of phones / tablets that an enterprise might need to support. I have no idea if they can manage millions of sensors.

 

Other details

 

  • There are no additional details describing exactly where the SAP cloud solutions might be deployed. Based on previous blogs that I’ve written on the subject, I assume that the industry-specific applications will run on NetWeaver Cloud. The “data management platform” for big data might be a perfect use case for the HANA Petabyte Cloud that is currently being created. 
  • I was pleased to see the ideas that originated in SAP Research projects (“The Business Web”) evolving into actual solutions that customers can buy.

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