Ericsson in SAP link for machine-to-machine

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CEO Hans Vestberg announces Ericsson and SAP will offer M2M enterprise products and services to operators

Ericsson is forming a tie-up with SAP to reach operators with cloud-based machine-to-machine services targeted to operators.

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, announced the partnership at the company’s opening press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“SAP will add applications for enterprise verticals. We will go together with a combined sales force,” he told Global Telecoms Business in an interview after the press conference. “We will be orchestrating all kinds of devices and services.”

He emphasised that the SAP/Ericsson partnership will target operators and not the enterprises themselves. “Operators have the end customers. This partnership with SAP and Ericsson will go to market with the operators, not the enterprises. It’s including the operators. Ericsson’s main business is the operators today and for the foreseeable future.”

The machine-to-machine deal with SAP is not exclusive, he emphasised. “There could be other areas such as health care [with other partners],” he said.

At the press conference the head of SAP’s mobile division, Sanjay Poonen, said that “60% of the world’s GDP runs on SAP systems” and that he hoped the partnership would lead to new types of services, “like social media on steroids”. Services would be “man talking to machine, machine to man and machine to machine”, said Poonen, who is SAP’s president and corporate officer for technology and innovation products. “We are delighted to be taking this to our joint customers.”

Vestberg told Global Telecoms Business that this was the first time that Ericsson and SAP had worked together on a joint product range, though “Ericsson is probably one of the largest SAP customers” for its enterprise software. “We have never gone to market together,” he said. “We’re going to see collaboration in mobile and broadband and the channels will be used in new ways. We are number one in footprint and scale.”

At the press conference, held as Mobile World Congress opened for the first time in its new venue, Vestberg said that by the end of 2012 “all smartphone users will use 20 megabytes a day” and that 4G will reach more than 100 million users by the end of the year.

He said that by 2018 there will be 9.3 billion mobile subscriptions, including 850 million mobile PCs or tablets, 3.3 billion smartphones and 6.5 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. “In 2018 three times as many people will have access to the internet as today.”

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