Whilst there's been a string of MVNO's consolidating in the recent past (Kore-Raco; Wireless Logic-CVC Capital Partners) - many driven as much by PE ownership as the management - it is some time since a significant truly strategic acquisition occurred, a la PTC/ThingWorx and Google/Nest.
In the time elapsed since these deals, it is likely that there has been much head scratching amongst global giants as to how and when they should make their entry into the vast and fast accelerating world of IoT. Cisco has now figured it out; whilst they may not have figured it out any faster than other exec teams in blue chips, they have decided to execute on strategy faster than the rest. This is a bold move; as was the PTC deal some years back now. First M2M, then IoT, for years now analysts have been predicting the huge growth in IoT connected devices. That growth is now materialising - core networks, low cost hardware, maturing markets and multiple network technologies (not least LoRa, Sigfox, Ingenu, NB-IOT... all vying for seemingly insatiable demand for an alternative to the legacy low data rate cellular options).
Then there is the role of the Connectivity Management Platform (CMP), much overlooked until now, but without which the forecast huge scaling of connectivity is extremely difficult if not impossible to control. The CMP has very much been out of the limelight as it is oft wrongly presumed that global cellular connectivity exists in a ubiquitous and easily managed state. So apart from this challenge of managing large scale of connectivity (across any wireless type of connectivity, across multiple cellular operators and across multiple territories) - which is a considerable challenge in itself (think about it for a moment; it's not so easy as just rocking up at an MNO, knocking on their door, and off you go with services ready and working) - what else did Cisco likely see within the CMP that Jasper had so carefully nurtured over the past decade?
I think the Cisco deal for a number of reasons validates the strategic value of connectivity management platforms.
These points we have recognised for years - hence Stream's focus on the pure side of connectivity management and data routing. Remaining agnostic to connectivity type.
I reckon Cisco gets most of the above; so I guess it's a matter of time before the many others move beyond figuring it out too and start to make their play. I see this also starting to shift the dynamics within the world of IOT Connectivity - whereby super virtual network operators start to evolve - a term I first coined in mid 2015 at the IoT Innovation Conference in Marseilles.
Cisco - the first Super Virtual Network Operator?
Now that's got to be seriously strategic!