Are Telcos Missing the Developer Community in M2M and IoT?

November 14, 2013

Over the last 2 months, I have had the opportunity to attend three M2M events: M2M Summit, M2M World Congress and the ETSI M2M Workshop. All of these events had a significant participation by the big European telcos. In Europe and the US, the telcos are pumping a large amount of money, at least marketing dollars, into the M2M industry.

A lot of speakers at these events were senior people from the telco industry presenting their M2M and IoT strategies.  After hearing enough of these presentations you start to get a feel for their priorities and perspective. One thing you never hear in these presentations is developers, open hardware or open source. The only time any of these were mentioned was when I or someone from Sierra Wireless was presenting.

It was almost as if developers did not exist. One would think the Telcos would have learnt from the smartphone industry where Apple and Google have dominated due to the incredibly successful developer programs. Based on what I have heard that would not seem to be the case.

It feels like the Telcos are stuck in a closed walled garden cathedral-like strategy. They have a strong focus on partner programs which they seem to believe makes them open. Ironically one presenter bragged they had improved their partner program so it now only took weeks to join, not months. They seem to think innovation needs to be under their control so they can show a ROI. The concept of a bazaar where innovation happens everywhere seems to a foreign concept. Given the success of the Google and Apple appstore I find this surprising.

Open source would also appear to still be a ‘scary’ concept. At the ETSI event, one panelist proclaimed [paraphrased] ‘he was worried open source was causing fragmentation in the M2M industry’. In fairness, he was conflating open source with the maker and hacker movement around open hardware but it still shows a lack of appreciation for how developers innovate.

These comments about open source are consistent with my interactions I have had with telcos. Some individuals within these organizations certainly get open source. However, the overall organization still seems to view open source as a scary idea, not a driver for innovation or pervasive adoption of technology.

If Telcos are going to succeed in M2M and IoT they need to embrace developers.  My recommendation to any Telco executive is as follows:

  1. Innovation will happen outside your walled garden. Don’t expect developers to join your partner program. They don’t have the time or money. Imagine having 100,000’s developers active in your community not just 50-100 companies. Learn how to nurture and promote this innovation but don’t expect an ROI on each engagement.
  2. Developers are using open hardware, like Arduino and BeagleBone, to experiment and innovate. You need to support open hardware and include it in your strategy.
  3. Open source software will lower the barriers of adoption for your platform.  Developers love to use open source since they don’t have to ask permission,they can learn from the code and  it is typically great software. The Internet is run on open source software. It is an intricate part of the entire software industry.  Embrace open source, learn how to benefit from it, it is not scary.
  4. If you still don’t understand, read ‘The New Kingmakers’. Developers certainly are the new kingmakers and you are missing out.

As a bonus recommendation, I am speaking at an IoT event that speaks to developers and industry, called Thingmonk. If you really want to understand how innovation is happening in IoT, you need to attend.

Update Eclipse Logo

November 12, 2013

The Eclipse logo has been in existence for over 10 years. It has served the community well but it is time for a bit of an update. To help create an updated logo I have started a design competition on designonclick. If you are a graphic designer or know of a graphic designer, we welcome your ideas.

For those astute community members, you may remember I tried to update the logo a couple of years ago. It is time to try again. :-)


IoT / M2M Links #8

November 11, 2013

Links for the past week in the IoT and M2M industry.

1. 10 companies making the Internet of Things a Reality

Interesting list of companies, especially since I have not heard of some of them, ex Schneider and Grundfos. The list is also missing some important companies, like GE, but all top 10 list of this problem.

2. Intel setups an IoT Division

Nice to see Intel making some heavy investment in IoT.

3. Hype vs reality of IoT

Really good article from Stefan Ferber at Bosch about the IoT inflection point.

4. ETSI M2M Workshop presentations

Last week I attended the ETSI M2M Workshop. Some interesting presentations that for the most part did not have a lot of vendor product pitches. All for the presentations are availalbe at



Towards a balanced gender mix at EclipseCon

November 8, 2013

James Governor recently blogged about his desire to have a good gender balance for his upcoming Thingmonk conference.  This is something that I would like to see at our EclipseCon conferences.  At the most recent EclipseCon Europe event we had only 27 women out of 589 attendees. Not very good; actually pretty pathetic.

I don’t know of any silver bullet to address this imbalance. I like to think, at least hope, EclipseCon is a welcoming event for women. At past conferences, most women attendees I have spoken with seem to enjoy the conference. If this is not the case, I would invite people to please let me know what we can do to make it so.We will be putting a code of conduct in place but we need to do more. If you have suggestions please leave a comment or send me an email (ian dot skerrett at

One thing I would like to encourage is more speaking proposals from women. We have had some great women speakers in the past but they are unfortunately female speakers are always a minority. The Call for Papers is now open so the timing is good. If you are a women or know a women that would be a great EclipseCon speaker please submit a proposal. I am happy to report that we will have our first female keynote speaker. We will be announcing all the keynotes in a couple of weeks but I know she is going to be awesome.

IoT / M2M Links #7

November 4, 2013

Some IoT / M2M links from last week.


1. New Eclipse Project Proposal: Krikkit.

Project proposal from Cisco about making edge devices smarter about IoT data.

2. New SmartHome Consortium including ABB, Bosch, Cisco and LG

These companies should really look at Eclipse SmartHome. It would appear to help solve a lot of the goals they mention in their press release.

3. Blackberry integration with MQTT

Looks like Blackberry is integrating with MQTT.

4. M2M Goodness at EclipseCon Europe

Last week there were a  number of M2M presentations at EclipseCon Europe. Alex Blewitt blogged about some of the highlights on InfoQ.

OpenHAB coming to Eclipse as Eclipse SmartHome

State of M2M projects at Eclipse

IoT / M2M Links #6

October 18, 2013

Weekly links from the IoT and M2M industry.

1. Good article on ‘Why open hardware matters’

Interesting to see Arduino and BeagleBone collaborating. Lots of people think Raspberry Pi is open hardware but in reality it is just really accessible hardware. It also seems like the Raspberry Pi has even bigger ambitions to be the hardware for IoT.

2, MQTT goodness this week

3. Gartner survey indicates CEOs aren’t buying the IoT hype.

Not terribly surprising but I think the hype is just starting. :-) It does indicate we need to have more user stories about IoT successes.

4. Lots of M2M/ IoT sessions at EclipseCon. Yes a shameless link to my blog post.

M2M @ EclipseCon Europe

October 17, 2013

EclipseCon Europe starts is less than 2 weeks! As I am spending a lot my time on M2M and IoT I am really looking forward to the great line-up of M2M sessions. If you are interested in Eclipse M2M then it is definitely worth your time to attend.

Bringing M2M to the web with Paho: Connecting Java Devices and online dashboards with MQTT

Java on embedded and mobile devices

Simplifying Complex Embedded Development Processes with mbeddr?

Concierge – Bringing OSGi (back) to Embedded Devices

Eclipse Smart Home

Eclipse M2M on wheels

A guided tour of Eclipse M2M

Eclipse SCADA – An introduction

M2M for Java Developers: MQTT with Eclipse Paho

Flying sharks and m2m


We will also be having an M2M Working Group meeting on Monday afternoon so there is lots of opportunity to learn about Eclipse M2M at EclipseCon Europe. I hope to see you there.



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