Managing Growth and Profits of Connected Devices

Mobile industry is the most dynamic global industry today. The connected mobile universe touches more than 4.5 billion consumers on the planet and these devices have effectively become an integral part of our daily lives. The pace of innovation and product introduction has also accelerated. The lifecycle of mobile network technologies, devices, applications is shrinking rapidly. While the 1G cycle lasted almost 20 years, the 2G cycle shrank to approximately 15 years. Though many countries are still launching 3G, the expected span for 3G in the US is likely to be 10 years. Similarly, on the device front, the average replacement cycles have decreased from over 24 months to less than 12 months in many mobile markets and demographic segments.

Mobility is also getting ingrained in the everyday objects, which make up for a fundamental reassessment of how things are done across industries in almost every region of the world. It is not just the phones and the data cards that are being enabled by the broadband connectivity but also the everyday electronic devices such as the tablets, eReaders, automobiles, picture frames, and cameras.

It is fairly apparent that mobile data is driving the growth in most developed nations. While voice is a stronger component in the developing nations today, it is the demand for mobile data and the lure of data revenues that is even forcing countries like China and India to embrace 4G at a much faster pace than they did 3G. The impact of data services is reflected in the operator financials. In Japan, Softbank became the first major operator to have more revenues come from data than voice. Others are following. In the US, over 37% of the revenues are coming from data services and the data revenues will account for over 50% of the revenues by early 2013.

The changing dynamics of the industry poses some serious questions about the supply-chain, product and service introduction cycles for the operators and the OEMs, and the management of the cost structure and margins of the business. If these elements are not effectively managed, both the competitiveness and the ROI of the products will be severely impacted.  Solutions to these problems must be repeatable, future-proof and –upgradeable, and cost effective, else the solutions won’t scale at the pace needed to manage the growth.

Participants in the ecosystem must identify cost reduction opportunities and streamline operations to take out limitations driven by legacy and drive convenience and seamless user experience for the consumer. Only then can the product introductions be sped up and the desire to maximize profits come to fruition. In this paper, we look at the issues and opportunities around connected devices and the solutions and strategies that will make the ecosystem more vibrant, scalable and sustainable.

Your feedback is always welcome.


Chetan Sharma