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IoT is trending toward smaller, easy-to-replicate projects that will generate increased data over time


IoT is not a technology, nor a market, but it certainly drives IT revenue

TBR estimates the contribution of the commercial IoT technique to the overall IT market will increase from $456.1 billion in 2019 to $1.7 trillion in 2025, a CAGR of 24.9%. IoT is not a technology or a market, but a technique for applying IT components, made more relevant by the increased ease of connecting sensors and collecting and processing data. It serves as a tool in the larger toolbox of traditional IT solutioning. As vendors and customers move beyond the stigma that IoT is exotic, untested and expensive and begin to understand that IoT is just an iteration of everyday IT solutioning, IoT is being implemented at an increasing rate, albeit slowly and steadily. While these projects are generally smaller, as customers leverage IoT to solve targeted problems and prove ROI, they are set to grow over time and expand into parallel projects, contributing long-tail revenue to vendors that are amenable to projects that are smaller in scope.

Several drivers will determine whether the growth needle moves toward lower or higher market performance. One is global economic health, including the impact of geopolitical challenges, which is out of the control of the customer and vendor community. If the U.S., Western Europe or China (or all three) faces an economic downturn, IoT projects are less likely to flourish. Increased tension between the U.S. and China could also drive economic challenges, in addition to hurting vendors’ ability to partner, limiting vendors’ market reach and reducing customer choice.



IoT is trending toward smaller, easy-to-replicate projects that will generate increased data over time

IoT is not a technology, nor a market, but it certainly drives IT revenue

TBR estimates the contribution of the commercial IoT technique to the overall IT market will increase from $456.1 billion in 2019 to $1.7 trillion in 2025, a CAGR of 24.9%. IoT is not a technology or a market, but a technique for applying IT components, made more relevant by the increased ease of connecting sensors and collecting and processing data. It serves as a tool in the larger toolbox of traditional IT solutioning. As vendors and customers move beyond the stigma that IoT is exotic, untested and expensive and begin to understand that IoT is just an iteration of everyday IT solutioning, IoT is being implemented at an increasing rate, albeit slowly and steadily. While these projects are generally smaller, as customers leverage IoT to solve targeted problems and prove ROI, they are set to grow over time and expand into parallel projects, contributing long-tail revenue to vendors that are amenable to projects that are smaller in scope.

Several drivers will determine whether the growth needle moves toward lower or higher market performance. One is global economic health, including the impact of geopolitical challenges, which is out of the control of the customer and vendor community. If the U.S., Western Europe or China (or all three) faces an economic downturn, IoT projects are less likely to flourish. Increased tension between the U.S. and China could also drive economic challenges, in addition to hurting vendors’ ability to partner, limiting vendors’ market reach and reducing customer choice.

Vendors’ efforts to seek out cooperative and coopetitive opportunities, along with their willingness to tailor their go-to-market strategies around their core competencies, will also be a factor in IoT growth. The better vendors interact and interoperate, the easier it is to piece together solutions. Often those solutions will manifest as packaged solutions — a bundle of vendor components preconstructed to solve a horizontal business problem or vertical challenge.

Leading webscales tackle the connectivity problem; CSP business model under threat

After dominating the digital advertising and cloud services markets, leading webscales are moving deeper into the networking domain, aiming to leverage new technologies and business models that could threaten incumbent communications service providers’ (CSP) core business of providing connectivity services. Leading webscales aim to bring connectivity worldwide, which will extend their advertising and cloud empires and provide them with additional vectors to drive new digital businesses. The disruptive means by which these visionary webscales are planning to tackle ubiquitous connectivity poses a significant threat to incumbent stakeholders in the telecom ecosystem.

Join Principal Analyst Chris Antlitz and Senior Analyst Michael Soper on Sept. 11 for an in-depth and exclusive review of TBR’s most recent Webscale ICT Market Landscape.

Don’t miss:

  • How much leading webscales will spend on ICT capex over the next five years
  • How leading webscales are driving innovation in the ICT ecosystem, particularly as it pertains to connectivity-related initiatives
  • How webscale involvement in the ICT ecosystem will impact stakeholders in the telecom industry

TBR webinars are held typically on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET and include a 15-minute Q&A session following the main presentation. Previous webinars can be viewed anytime on TBR’s Webinar Portal.

For additional information or to arrange a briefing with our analysts, please contact TBR at [email protected].

Webscale capex growth will decelerate, though dollar volume will continue to climb, as data center builds slow

According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 1Q19 Webscale ICT Market Landscape, webscale ICT capex for the Super 7 will grow at an 8.1% CAGR to nearly $58 billion in 2023. Most U.S.- and China-based webscales began pulling forward significant investment in data center and network capacity in 2018, which will lead to moderating — or even declining — capex levels for some U.S.-based players beginning in 2020. China-based webscales will continue to ramp ICT capex through the forecast period, however, to catch up to Western rivals in key areas, particularly public cloud.

Webscale "Super 7" capex forecast

The entrance of Rakuten, a Japan-based e-commerce company, to the mobile industry could be a game changer and provides a glimpse into what a digital service provider will look like. Rakuten’s mobile network will blanket Japan with LTE coverage by year-end. Not only will Rakuten’s network be agile, flexible and dynamic to provide digital services, it will also enable a dramatic reduction in the cost of connectivity. Rakuten’s ultimate intention is to be more than just another mobile network operator in the highly competitive Japan market; it aims to provide a foundational connectivity platform from which to sell a host of digital services. Rakuten’s acknowledgment that it needs its own network could lead to other webscales trying to take a more active ownership and control stance toward having a connectivity platform from which they can leverage their digital businesses. Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon, among other webscales, have all experimented with how to address last-mile connectivity, not only to bridge the digital divide but also to serve as a conduit to give them more control over their destinies without relying on communication service providers (CSPs) to provide the connectivity layer.

The OEM landscape continues to see disruption due in part to the power webscales hold over their suppliers. The vast number of suppliers taking part in Rakuten’s network build demonstrates that webscales hold the power when soliciting vendors for connectivity initiatives. When engaging with webscales, which have few legacy encumbrances, incumbent OEMs are being relegated to commoditized hardware and services. Should the 5G era bring about this trend in the CSP customer segment, incumbents will see more widespread disruption. Vendors must be wary of the webscale procurement model taking hold with their traditional customers.

Channel partner ecosystems will evolve to support digital adoption

An exclusive review of TBR’s ongoing analysis of ICT vendors’ go-to-market strategies and Tailored Services capabilities

Shifts in customer consumption preferences and efforts to accelerate revenue expansion in high-growth business segments continue to transform the go-to-market motions of leading technology and professional services vendors. Vendors are increasingly relying on their channel ecosystems to create self-sustaining economies that support their financial and strategic objectives in cloud, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, digital, and other disruptive technology and services segments. As part of this effort to pursue channel-led growth, vendors are investing in new and revised channel partner programs, structures and strategies, and new partner types and ecosystems are emerging around major technology domains.

Join TBR’s Bryan Belanger and Colin Naples April 17 for a review of:

  • Major recent channel and alliance strategy trends and developments observed across TBR’s technology market coverage domains
  • Expectations for channel and alliance strategy trends and developments across TBR’s technology market coverage domains in 2019
  • TBR’s perspective on the importance of competitive channel strategy benchmarking, as well as recommended best practices for vendors to use in benchmarking competitive channel programs, structures and strategies

 

 

TBR webinars are held typically on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET and include a 15-minute Q&A session following the main presentation. Previous webinars can be viewed anytime on TBR’s Webinar Portal.

For additional information or to arrange a briefing with our analysts, please contact TBR at [email protected].

Nokia hedges 5G play with focus on opportunities in the enterprise space

TBR perspective

The next few years will be challenging for Nokia (NYSE: NOK), and execution will be critical to ensure the company is optimized to drive profitable revenue growth when its addressable market ultimately returns to sustained growth. With its core communication service provider (CSP) customer segment, which composes 95% of Networks’ revenue, expected to remain in a cost-optimization cycle pending new, proven revenue growth opportunities enabled by 5G (which TBR’s research suggests remains several years away), Nokia’s strategic focus on opportunities in the enterprise space and its internal digital transformation are prudent and timely and will take center stage in determining how financially successful the company will be as it transitions into the next decade.

Though more CSPs are committing to deploy 5G and other advanced network innovations such as virtualization over the next few years, the reality is that these infrastructure investments are being justified because they provide significant cost efficiencies to CSPs, enabling them to build, operate and support networks in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner compared to prior generations of network technology. This reality not only increases pressure on Nokia to boost its enterprise exposure to grow revenue, but also pushes management to accelerate digital transformation to protect margins.

Though TBR generally agrees with Nokia’s stance that the world is at the cusp of Industry 4.0, the divergence in thought comes down to timing and whether this cycle will be a short-duration revolution or a long-term evolution. TBR’s research suggests the latter and that Industry 4.0, which includes mass 5G adoption globally, will not ramp up until the 2022-2025 timeframe, at which point business cases will be proved, justifying an increase in market spend on ICT infrastructure. Until that time, Nokia needs to rightsize its shorter-term expectations and focus on building a solid foundation for its fledgling enterprise business while digitally transforming its internal operations to stay competitive.

 

 

Enterprises, 5G and Industry 4.0 dominated most of the mindshare at Nokia’s 2018 Global Analyst Forum. Nokia spent much less time discussing its individual product innovations and more time discussing how technology, people and processes are coming together to enable digital transformation, not only for CSPs but also for enterprises.

5G drives network transformation

The shift from connecting people (pre-5G era) to connecting everything (5G era) will require an architectural overhaul of telecom networks. A true 5G network will not only leverage new radios but also be inherently cloud-native, virtualized, programmable and automated and provide near-limitless capacity at ultra-low latency. This will require transformation across the entire network, not just at the access layer.

Network transformation moves from industry buzz phrase to reality

The telecom industry has discussed network transformation for years, though its amorphous meaning is beginning to take shape and materialize. TBR is seeing communication service providers (CSPs) transform into digital service providers (DSPs) propelled by ICT convergence, NFV/SDN, cloud, 5G, big data and analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These trends and technologies are helping operators evolve their networks from being rigid, slow, static, reactive and closed to being flexible, fast, dynamic and open.

Some of the trends contributing to this shift include moving from on-premises/physical networks leveraging black boxes to cloudified/virtualized networks leveraging white boxes. Hardware-defined networks were capex-driven, whereas the future of the network is software-defined and opex-driven. This evolution allows operators to more quickly and easily launch offerings for new revenue streams and reduce network costs over time.

Though NFV and SDN adoption has been slow, some Tier 1 operators are progressing with their plans and reaping benefits. Integrating NFV and SDN capabilities will enable operators to more effectively support network technologies that will become prevalent in the 5G era, such as network slicing and edge computing, which will play a pivotal role in supporting 5G use cases such as advanced Internet of Things (IoT). Operators are under pressure to invest in NFV and SDN to reduce total capex and opex spend as well as introduce new services and stay competitive in the data-driven digital economy, which is increasingly dominated by webscale and over-the-top players.

5G is taking up greater mindshare as commercial deployments begin

Operator networks must ultimately be overhauled to fully realize the potential 5G has to offer, though it will take operators many years to evolve their networks end-to-end. In the meantime, the current focus, and 5G-related capex spend, will be on 5G radios. The potential cost savings offered by 5G is spurring operators to accelerate their deployment timelines, pulling them forward by as much as two years. Efficiency gains remain the main driver to deploy 5G, as a viable business case for operators to grow revenue from 5G has yet to materialize (with the exception of fixed wireless broadband). 5G, which is expected to provide between four- and 10-times greater efficiency on a cost-per-gigabyte basis compared to LTE, will enable operators to more cost-effectively add network capacity to support the prevalence of unlimited data plans as well as continued connected device additions.

There are myriad ideas for new network use cases that 5G could enable, but ROI remains suspect. The most economically viable use case thus far for net-new revenue generation from 5G is fixed wireless broadband. In 2020-2025, which TBR believes will represent the “renaissance” phase of 5G, there will be a plethora of new use cases for the network, particularly in the areas of augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), smart city, IoT and robotics.

Realizing the full benefits of 5G requires significant investment across the network, not just in the access layer. Operators will invest in fiber, spectrum, massive MIMO (multiple input and multiple output), carrier aggregation, NFV/SDN and cloud RAN (C-RAN), which will provide opportunity for vendors. Though positioned well in key early 5G markets, incumbent vendors are threatened with disruption from NFV/SDN-centric firms, particularly firms in the areas of virtual RAN and mobile core. TBR estimates over 85% of 5G capex spend through 2020 will be driven by operators in four countries: U.S., China, Japan and South Korea. Most Tier 1 operators in these countries have aggressive 5G rollout timetables and intend to leverage the technology for fixed wireless broadband and/or to support their mobile broadband densification initiatives.

TBR covers these topics in depth in its operator, vendor, 5G, NFV/SDN and webscale research streams.

Super 7 webscale total capex spend will reach $123B in 2022

Infographic showing webscale "Super 7" capex forecast for 2017 through 2022

 

Data center builds and expansions as well as AI investment drive growth

According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 3Q18 Webscale ICT Market Landscape, webscale ICT capex for the “Super 7” will grow at a 26.2% CAGR from 2017 to 2022 to more than $69 billion as these top webscales aim to future-proof business-critical infrastructure and map network capacity to data traffic growth, which is expected to increase exponentially through the forecast period.

Webscales are investing tens of billions of dollars in new data centers, either to support their core businesses or to increase the scale of their cloud services businesses. Capex spend is spiking in 2018 as many of the Super 7 build new facilities on land they acquired in 2017. Amazon’s 30.4% year-to-year ICT capex growth rate in 2018 is noticeably lower than that of its peers, which is largely due to its leading presence in the cloud services market. Challengers Microsoft, Alphabet and Alibaba will grow 2018 ICT capex 73.6%, 100.3%, and 101.6%, respectively, year-to-year in a bid to catch up to market leader Amazon Web Services.

The OEM landscape is being upended as webscales embrace ODMs and open-source technology. A growing number of ODMs aim to take share from incumbent hardware vendors such as Cisco and Dell EMC. Webscales often possess the talent necessary to design their own equipment, then outsource production to an ODM. In these instances, the software is disaggregated from the hardware and the code is written by webscale software engineers. This threat gives webscales negotiating power over incumbents. Some vendors, such as Cisco, mitigating the threat from ODMs with acquisitions, strong customer relationships and litigation.

For more information, contact Senior Analyst Michael Soper at [email protected].

Data center builds and expansions, along with AI investments, will drive webscale ‘Super 7’ ICT capex to $69B by 2022

HAMPTON, N.H. (Sept. 6, 2018) According to Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 3Q18 Webscale ICT Market Landscape, webscale ICT capex for the “Super 7” will grow at a 26.2% CAGR to over $69 billion in 2022 as these top webscales aim to future-proof business-critical infrastructure and map network capacity to data traffic growth, which is expected to increase exponentially through the forecast period. Webscales are investing tens of billions of dollars in new data centers, either to support their core businesses or to increase the scale of their cloud services businesses.

“Capex spend is spiking in 2018 as the Super 7 build new facilities on land acquired in 2017. Amazon’s 30.4% ICT capex growth rate in 2018 is noticeably lower than its peers, which is largely due to its leading presence in the cloud services market,” said Michael Soper, a senior analyst at TBR. “Challengers Microsoft, Alphabet and Alibaba will grow 2018 ICT capex 73.6%, 100.3%, and 101.6%, respectively, year-to-year in a bid to catch up to market leader Amazon Web Services.”

The OEM landscape is being upended as webscales embrace ODMs and open-source technology. A growing number of ODMs aim to take share from incumbent hardware vendors such as Cisco and Dell EMC. Webscales often possess the talent necessary to design their own equipment, then outsource production to an ODM. In these instances, the software is disaggregated from the hardware and the code is written by webscale software engineers. This threat gives webscales negotiating power over incumbents. Cisco is mitigating the threat from ODMs with acquisitions, strong customer relationships and litigation.

TBR’s Webscale ICT Market Landscape tracks the ICT-related initiatives of the seven largest webscale companies in the world, known as the Super 7, which includes Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Microsoft and Tencent. The report provides a market assessment, deep dives into company strategies and analyzes capex trends, particularly as they pertain to ICT. Vendors are also covered from the perspective of relative opportunities with webscale companies as customers.

For additional information about this research or to arrange a one-on-one analyst briefing, please contact Dan Demers at +1 603.758.1803 or [email protected].

ABOUT TBR

Technology Business Research, Inc. is a leading independent technology market research and consulting firm specializing in the business and financial analyses of hardware, software, professional services, and telecom vendors and operators. Serving a global clientele, TBR provides timely and actionable market research and business intelligence in a format that is uniquely tailored to clients’ needs. Our analysts are available to address client-specific issues further or information needs on an inquiry or proprietary consulting basis.

TBR has been empowering corporate decision makers since 1996. For more information please visit www.tbri.com.

Pricing research is not always about price

I recently read an article summarizing an onstage interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the George Bush President Center. During the interview, Bezos described Amazon’s data mindset:

“We have tons of metrics. When you are shipping billions of packages a year, you need good data and metrics: Are you delivering on time? Delivering on time to every city? To apartment complexes? … [Data around] whether the packages have too much air in them, wasteful packaging … The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right. There’s something wrong with the way you are measuring it.”

This is critical insight for market research practitioners, including those (like myself) focused on pricing. As analysts, we tend to deep dive on the facts and seek hard evidence. We rely on the data to tell the story and articulate the outcomes. Bezos isn’t saying that we should totally discount data. What he’s saying is that data has value when contextualized and re-examined in the context of the actual customer experience.

Pricing is an inherently data-driven exercise. IT and telecom vendors lean on transactional systems, price lists, research firm pricing databases, and other data-centric tools to make pricing decisions and determine appropriate price thresholds. Most of the pricing projects that we do on behalf of our clients start with the question, “Are we competitively priced versus our peers?” That is usually the most basic component of the results that we deliver.

What we’ve found over the years doing this work is that pricing in the ICT space is often more art than science, and that customer anecdotes about pricing are often as valuable and instructive to pricing strategy as the market pricing datasets produced. Our approach to pricing research is rooted in interviews with representatives of the vendor and enterprise customer communities. Often in conducting these interviews, we’ll uncover that the root issues with pricing, which were thought to be associated with the price itself, are often broader issues — something related to value articulation, market segmentation, packaging or delivery efficiency. These aspects influence the customer experience, create pain points, and ultimately dictate willingness to pay and value capture.

When we deliver these results to our pricing research clients, the outcomes are often not only a list or street pricing change, but rather, a rethinking of a broader pricing, go-to-market or customer engagement strategy. Clients will utilize customer anecdotes to rethink how they message a product in their marketing campaigns and content, devise a new approach to customer segmentation, or take a hard look at the delivery cost structure and resource pyramid levels that are driving their price position. In designing pricing research initiatives, we encourage our clients to think more broadly about pricing and incorporate multiple organizational stakeholders into the process, as this can uncover true unforeseen drivers of price position.

How does this compare to your organization’s approach to pricing? How important are customer anecdotes to your pricing processes? Drop a comment here or email me at [email protected].