As General Manager, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) for Rogers, Eric Simmons is responsible for overall product, marketing and sales operations strategies for M2M and advanced business solutions.
1. With more and more new connected technologies available, what do businesses need to support all these new solutions?
First and foremost, an open mind to the possibilities of what new technologies can do for business and how you can gain competitive advantage. The next thing is to find a solution provider that understands how these new technologies work and their potential. Understanding organizations’ core business needs and what technology can do for them is just part of the story—your provider should be able to both implement technology and manage the solution.
2. What’s the business value of having your networks talking to each other?
Connected technology means businesses can move faster than the competition and differentiate from them on the market; it’s about getting more value, a faster ROI. You can’t do this without the right network infrastructure. But managing “the connected lifecycle” of the customer—wireless, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.—means taking a holistic view of the customer’s business, including their assets, their goals, their specific needs and so on.
3. More and more services are being moved to wireless networks—what kinds of security concerns are associated with this trend?
There’s understandably a lot of concern around security as a whole and connected devices specifically, and organizations are doing everything they can to protect their data. Devices have security and encryption built right in. We set up custom APNs (Access Point Names) for another layer of security. So we can really manage and ensure data protection across the whole organization by offering solutions that meet each business’s security needs, and by tying connected technologies into their existing security platforms.
4. What kinds of intelligence can businesses capture from smart networks?
Predictive analytics mined in real time can predict and prevent equipment failure. For example, with an oil and gas well head (pump jack) you’re measuring valve pressure, vibrations, leakage sensors, etc. This data is valuable for one customer but aggregate data from multiple customers can help predict and prevent problems.
Or, for example, in a retail environment: a lot of anonymous information can be captured using sensors and Wi-Fi networks, such as how many people are entering a store and where they’re going in the store. If they opt in, you can also capture demographic and other information and even send them information. The value of the data can make a huge difference in business decision-making. There are understandably a lot of concerns around anonymity/privacy, and a lot of work is being done on how data can be used. Rogers is closely following these developments.
5. What should businesses consider when adopting a wireless service?
Complex problems require holistic solutions. A wireless app requires development and customization, modems, networks, sensor equipment, spare pooling, returns, etc. The traditional model involves different providers for hardware, software, network access and professional services, which can create uncertainty and delay when technical issues arise.
A solution partner providing end-to-end support can simplify and streamline businesses’ deployment timelines and reduce costs. One company, one point of contact, one bill: an organization with expertise in the whole deployment process and all its technical components can provide all this and more.
6. What sorts of products or services should businesses think about moving into the cloud?
Things that aren’t part of a business’s core competencies, like Customer Relationship Management or Mobile Device Management, should be moved into the cloud. The cloud is valuable because it enables new technology, it’s off-site, it’s relatively low-cost and it allows businesses to get things up and running fast.
Globalization allows inputs to come in from all over the world; not having access to the cloud, to the Internet of Things, really narrows business focus and makes it hard to see what competitors are doing. We’re only as smart as the people in our office, and the cloud makes the office infinitely larger.
How does your business use integrated networks?