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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.

Maturing offerings, vendors and customers prompt long-term IoT vendor growth

The continued interweaving of the technology component market with Internet of Things (IoT) techniques delivers a well-defined path to long-term sustained growth for many IT and operational technology (OT) vendors, especially those vendors that are best able to differentiate their portfolio and position themselves as critical partners for a wide set of IoT solutions.

The hype surrounding IoT has only served to confuse and overwhelm customers and vendors, but efforts by both parties to cut through the hype is driving the growth of installed IoT solutions. As the hype fades, vendors are better able to rationalize their go-to-market strategies and messaging, particularly around how to assemble IoT solutions, leading customers to better understand how to apply IoT.

However, while it is becoming easier to assemble an IoT solution, it is still challenging to design and implement the IoT technique. We don’t expect a huge explosion of revenue; IoT itself isn’t a “killer app,” but it will enable moderate and slowly accelerating revenue growth for the various components involved in an IoT solution.

In our 3Q18 reports and thought leadership, TBR will focus on three topics that we believe are currently the most impactful on the wider IoT ecosystem: the increasing maturity of the IoT technique, the growing consolidation of generic platforms, and how increasing commoditization around IoT is working in favor of economies of scale and enabling the growth of installed solutions.

IoT is growing up: Increased ecosystem maturity will lead to increased customer adoption

TBR, through discussions with vendors and customers as well as our use case databasing, is noticing growth in installed IoT solutions, whether from net-new deployments or expansions of existing IoT deployments, signaling improved maturity. IoT maturation is not so much about the components of IoT as it is about businesses developing their ability to leverage technologies and techniques that are increasingly applicable to a growing number of business problems.

A major driver of this maturity is greater clarity around IoT techniques, led largely by go-to-market realignment and improved messaging by vendors, organization around IoT by customers, shifts from competition to coopetition by vendors, and general improvements in the construction of the technology that facilitate advanced usage of the IoT technique.

HCL Technologies (HCLT): IoT NXT Summit

Working with leading technology vendors to develop emerging technology offerings in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT) challenges HCL Technologies (HCLT) to differentiate from peers. However, leveraging its deep engineering expertise integrated with vertical capabilities enables HCLT to be more competitive, driving business transformation for new and existing clients with IoT-based services solutions.

TBR perspective

HCLT’s IoT WoRKS business unit benefits from demand for IoT, primarily among existing customers. The company has some advantages in the IoT business and will continue to expand its IoT practice as it generates IP that will prove useful as IoT becomes an increasingly important part of both build and run services.

HCLT has a long history in electronics and mechanical engineering and continues to provide engineering and R&D services beyond the usual scope of IT-oriented companies. TBR has written extensively about HCLT’s engineering heritage and offerings, noting the company’s engineering and R&D expertise serves as a key differentiator within the broader IT services space. Our white paper HCLT’s Intelligent Sustenance Engineering Service Line Unit delivers data insights to extend the product life cycle discusses the impact of engineering and R&D expertise on the value of HCLT’s data analytics services through differentiation. HCLT’s history and continued use of engineering and R&D help the company navigate customers’ operations technology (OT) areas in both technical and cultural engagements, a necessity in IoT. Nevertheless, in IoT, the company engages primarily with customers’ IT organizations, and HCLT’s advantage in the IoT space enables it to efficiently implement IoT-driven solutions using more complex OT factors. However, as OT is far more diverse than IT, one type of OT expertise does not imply knowledge of another. Although HCLT’s established engineering experiences, combined with its IT services for IoT environments, provide an advantage for the company, adding OT skills would bridge any gaps within OT areas and create a simple but strong advantage. TBR believes that OT organizations will continue to initiate IoT solutions, but will evolve to integrate IT-based practices focused on security, scalability and manageability.

 

On Aug. 22, 2018, TBR attended HCLT’s IoT NXT Summit at the company’s recently opened IoT COLLAB innovation center in Redmond, Wash. The center is located on the same property as HCLT’s Lab 21, which was opened in collaboration with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) around artificial intelligence (AI) and Cortana Analytics in the Azure Cloud. The analyst event centered on HCLT’s 3-year-old IoT WoRKS business unit and featured demonstrations of HCLT’s IoT solutions and how the company works with its partners to develop IoT portfolio offerings as well as extensive discussions with HCLT’s IoT WoRKS industry leads. During the event, HCLT emphasized its focus on existing assets, enhanced by partners and vertical expertise, which, combined with growing demand for cloud-based infrastructure services, enables HCLT to transform clients’ business operations with IoT solutions, providing scale and speed at the edge.

Signals of consolidation appear in the cloud IoT platform space

Infographic discussing signals of consolidation appearing in the IoT cloud platform space

The cloud IoT platform landscape consolidates around largest vendors as customers seek continuity, consistency and the best tools

Cloud services revenue grew 48.2% year-to-year and increased as a percentage of total benchmarked Internet of Things (IoT) revenue from 12.4% to 15.8% year-to-year in 2Q18. Growth is driven by customers, especially those without deep legacy ties, moving their workloads to the cloud. The public cloud ecosystem is beginning to consolidate, with the top vendors competing on best-in-class tools, partnerships and business-problem-solving messaging.

Software, while still a sizable portion of benchmarked revenue, is experiencing slowing revenue growth, from 19% year-to-year in 2Q17 to 4.2% year-to-year in 2Q18. Software, along with ICT infrastructure, will continue to play a role in IoT solutions with the advent of edge computing, but as providers’ cloud platforms mature and tie-in deals with application partners are cemented, demand increases.

ICT infrastructure revenue grew 14.1% year-to-year in 2Q18 due to increased IoT deployments as well as hybrid IoT becoming an increasingly common IoT framework. ICT infrastructure gross margin rose 80 basis points year-to-year. TBR believes the increase stems from the need for more specialized or powerful hardware to handle the more advanced needs of IoT and its components, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision. Despite the increased utilization of ICT hardware due to hybrid IoT and the need for specialization, the long view for ICT infrastructure will be complicated by commoditization. TBR expects most ICT infrastructure companies to deeply invest in software and service components to buttress the profitability of customer engagements as the threat of commoditization looms.

Vendors across the technology spectrum are all fervently trying to crack the code for the “killer app” within specific verticals that can solve common business problems and be widely adopted by customers. The vendors that win with building the first widely accepted solutions will be set up for success, while others in the oversaturated market will at best become acquisition targets and at worst become history.

For more information, contact Analyst Daniel Callahan at [email protected].

Increased market clarity drives 16.1% year-to-year growth in commercial IoT revenue

Technology Business Research, Inc.’s (TBR) 2Q18 Commercial IoT Benchmark recorded revenue growth of 16.1% year-to-year, to $10.3 billion, in 2Q18, among the 28 IT and operational technology (OT) vendors we benchmark. The revenue growth is largely a result of continued implementation of Internet of Thing (IoT) and growth of installed IoT solutions.

The dousing of rampant IoT hype, which only served to confuse and overwhelm customers and vendors, is helping drive the growth of installed IoT solutions. As the hype dies out, a wave of increased clarity and maturation is forming with vendors rationalizing their go-to-market strategies and messaging, leading to customers better understanding how to apply IoT and vendors learning how to assemble solutions. Packaged solutions are emerging as vendors cooperate, focusing on their strengths, and assemble components sets that solve verticalwide challenges. TBR believes these factors are driving tactical business-focused IoT projects to supersede overambitious projects stuck in proof-of-concept limbo.

However, while easier than in the past, IoT design and implementation are still a challenge. TBR does not expect a huge explosion of revenue beyond midteen growth going forward.

Total 2Q18 commercial IoT benchmarked gross profit increased 16.6% year-to-year to $5.1 billion. Reduced complexity in IoT due to increased knowledge around building and applying IoT as well as the streamlining of portfolios as a result of increased partnering is improving vendor profitability. Also, vendors are leveraging specialized tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to justify higher pricing.

 

TBR’s Commercial IoT Benchmark highlights current commercial IoT revenue and gross profit for vendors. TBR leverages financial models and projections across a diverse set of IT and OT components. Additionally, the benchmark outlines the major vendor drivers and trends shaping the market.

Technology Business Research, Inc. announces 4Q18 webinar schedule

Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR) announces the schedule for its 4Q18 webinar series.

Oct. 10         Crossing the chasm: Transforming from a CSP to a DSP

Don’t miss attributes of a CSP versus a DSP, operators leading in the market, vendors successfully enabling transformation and more.

Oct. 17         IoT customer maturity

Don’t miss customer capabilities needed for IoT, implications of customer maturity in go-to-market tactics and delivery, and more.

Oct. 31         IT services expectations for 2019: Assets, industries and human transformation

Don’t miss IT services expectations for 2019, including how vendors and their clients will manage co-innovation’s impact on services-related assets.

Nov. 14       Customer-centric digital transformation: What’s up with that?

Don’t miss the state of adoption of digital transformation technology and services, marketing maturity and opportunities, and more.

Nov. 28        2018: The year multicloud and hybrid cloud became inevitable?

Don’t miss shifts in cloud consumption, cloud vendor adaptations and expectations for 2019.

Dec. 5          Can management consulting survive digital transformation?

Don’t miss the next evolution of digital transformation and co-innovation centers, management consulting, and more.

Dec. 12        Why asset-based IT services will rule 2019

Don’t miss how vendors will adjust to asset-based services, changes observed in 2018 that will gather steam in 2019 and more.

 

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].

The diversity of IoT solutions and their multicomponent and multivendor nature require new approaches from vendors

The Internet of Things (IoT) market is beginning to stabilize, if not mature, and this is a good time for vendors to focus on vertical markets and use cases within those markets, especially where there is a gap that aligns well with an IT vendor’s strength, such as telecom operators’ capabilities in logistics.

“We project total commercial IoT market revenue will increase from $370.3 billion in 2018 to more than $1 trillion in 2023 at a CAGR of 24.4%,” said TBR Analyst Dan Callahan.

Commercial IoT Market Forecast Alternative Market Performance Scenarios 2018-2023

Other topics we cover in the Commercial IoT Market Forecast 2018-2023 Update include the emergence of embedded IoT solutions, the rise of independent software vendors and independent hardware vendors as paths for propagating embedded solutions, and the drivers and inhibitors for select verticals and technology segments where we anticipate the most change.

The Commercial IoT Market Forecast 2018-2023 Update highlights the current and emerging revenue opportunities in the commercial IoT market for vendors. It leverages financial models and projections across a diverse set of IT and operational technology components, verticals and geographies. In addition, the report outlines the major component and industry drivers and trends shaping the market.

For additional information about this research or to arrange a one-on-one analyst briefing, please contact Dan Demers at +1 603.929.1166 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.

It’s time to stop calling IoT a technology

Yes, we all do it. Every analyst, vendor and customer has referred to Internet of Things (IoT) as a technology. I have done it countless times, and so have my extremely talented and informed peers. However, it’s a misnomer, a shortcut, and a cop out, and if we actually think of IoT as a technology, it’s ultimately harmful to the adoption of IoT. IoT is actually a technique for solving business problems using a combination of technology components and services, rather than a technology in and of itself.

No one vendor does IoT alone ― it’s not a deliverable, self-contained technology solution. Rather, it often involves a “leader” company, generally a consulting company or an ISV, assembling a solution sourced from software, services and hardware components from partner companies. My colleague Ezra Gottheil likes to use a construction analogy. A general contractor will shop at Home Depot (the wide and increasingly saturated IoT marketplace) for all the components he or she needs to build a structure. The general contractor will also hire subcontractors (partners and specialized vertical ISVs) who have certain expertise. Even as we move closer to prepackaged IoT or shrink-wrapped solutions, multiple vendors will continue to be involved in delivery.

Some of these components can be grouped into the “new technology” bucket. As TBR closely monitors use cases and fills our use-case database, which currently has more than 360 entries, IoT projects are increasingly linked with augmented reality/virtual reality, blockchain and analytics. All of these new components, including IoT, are enhanced when used in cohesion.

But many of the components, such as servers, routers, mobile devices, sensors, connectivity, IT services and business consulting, have existed for decades. IoT is a new shiny label slapped on a technique IT companies have been using for decades: pulling together IT components to build solutions and help customers achieve their goals.

TBR believes when a vendor tells a customer “you should adopt this new transformational technology,” it is usually met with eye-rolling. IoT is no different. As soon as the “new technology” discussion comes to the table, customers instinctively rock back on their heels. It sounds like a large and long-lasting commitment, which leads to rip-and-replace cost fears, technology lock-in consternation due to a rapidly evolving market, and a general lack of understanding about the benefits.

TBR believes vendors should change the message. Begin with discovering what a customer’s business problems are, then suggest using the technique of IoT to begin strategically solving them in a stepwise manner. It’s not a rip-and-replace approach; it’s seeing where improvements can be gradually made to increase connectivity throughout an organization and ultimately deliver improved insight. It might mean adding sensors to legacy equipment, using IoT components and new analytic tools to tie together legacy data and create new insight, or implementing tangential technologies such as blockchain to better inform customers on their supply chain. Eventually, it could mean all of these combined.

At a recent vendor event, the CEO of a Boston-based IoT solution vendor asserted that IoT is now passe. True customer evolution, including problem solving comes from the bigger picture ― using the technique of IoT, tangential technologies, and internal and external data sources to supercharge efficiency and gain insight.

IoT as a technology is a lazy oversimplification. Let’s start messaging how the technique of IoT ―a new way of thinking about and applying technology ― can help solve current business challenges in an agile and cost-effective manner.