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How do you get your arms around millions of devices, billions of apps, and trillions of things to end up making money and solving some of the challenges of big data and mobility? SAP’s thought leaders provide insights into what it takes to successfully drive business in a world that has as many handheld devices as people – and over two billion connected devices, sensors and machines. According to Sanjay Poonen, President Technology Solutions, Jens Amail, SVP for Service Industries and Suhas Uliyar, SVP VP M2M, Internet of Things, it will take three powerful components – a machine-to-machine (M2M) software platform provider, a network management provider and mobile network operators, all working together to offer flexible, cloud based solutions for enterprises seeking to tap the vast M2M opportunity pool. Here’s part one in this series.

I’ve already revealed the secret to tackling big data, mobility and the cloud , but how do you actually gain competitive advantage with big data and mobility? 

Let’s start with big data. According to KPMG big data is the ultimate challenge because of the volume and the ultimate opportunity because it can lead to better decision making. It is so powerful that participants at the 2012 World Economic Forum at Davos declared it a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold. Some call it the oil of the 21st century.

So if big data is the new oil, then the mobile device is the new car. In the old days, mobile meant having your own wheels, and with it, the freedom to move around whenever you wanted. Nowadays, mobile is about eliminating boundaries of time, space and place. It’s about instant connectivity on any device.  Whereas the power of big data lies in using data to drive business outcomes, the power of mobility lies in speed and real time availability. Combining both can lead to a very strong competitive advantage.

In the traditional mobile model, companies like Asian Paints in India are already gaining newfound business capabilities by implementing mobile platforms  that allow sales personnel to connect, manage and analyze customer requirements in real time. They believe that the speed and efficiency of processing data will be the key drivers for businesses in the years to come.  Even more critical will be the ability to access that information— anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Another way to gain competitive advantage is by doing smart business with big data generated by smart machines.  Smart companies are building new business models leveraging trends such as M2M which is simply the direct communication between objects and systems without the need for human intervention. Today the M2M market is an adjacent and incremental opportunity to the traditional mobile market because it has a broad reach and an impact on solutions across all industries.

That’s good news for mobile operators. While the price of devices has been steadily decreasing, mobile operators all over the world have been driving growth in the M2M market over the past several years as we can see by rapidly increasing numbers of M2M subscribers and higher revenues. However, the road ahead is not easy. Continuous success for operators in this space will require transformational strategies along with new value propositions, product innovation and perhaps even some mergers and acquisitions. At the same time, operators need to have good insight into the software and system solutions that are emerging as the fastest growing segment in the M2M industry. Increasingly advanced large-scale M2M applications require advanced service enablement platforms that integrate remote devices, mobile networks and enterprise applications. 

So how can operators cope with all these changes? They can partner with software platform providers and network management providers to bring together three critical M2M elements: the platform, network management and network provision.

Stay tuned for more good news coming from Mobile World Congress over the coming weeks. Follow us on or the SAP Mobile YouTube channel.

Follow Sanjay on Twitter @spoonen

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