Nokia is selling its Device Management and Service Management Platform businesses to Lumine Group. This includes Nokia’s device management and subscription management products for the Internet of Things (IoT). Focused, independent operation is expected to improve funding and product development, with Nokia itself becoming a customer of the newly carved-out company.
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Nokia has announced the sale of its Device Management (DM) and Service Management Platform (SMP) lines of business. Of relevance from an Internet of Things (IoT) perspective is that Nokia’s DM product portfolio includes its IMPACT IoT platform, and iSIM Secure Connect platform. All of Nokia’s divested DM and SMP products are to be acquired by Lumine Group, which will continue to maintain, fund, and develop them. Lumine Group’s modus operandi is the acquisition of mature, industry-specific software platforms designed for the telecommunications market, and media markets. Nokia’s DM and SMP lines of business will be run as a standalone business branded as “Motive”, with Lumine Group employing all of Nokia’s 500 DM and SMP staff. The acquisition is valued at €185 million (approximately US$205 million), and is expected to be completed quickly, during 1Q 2024.
This will be a brand reactivation, as Motive Inc. and Mformation Software Technologies were two device and service management companies originally acquired by Alcatel-Lucent, that Nokia took subsequent ownership of in its purchase of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016. This allowed Nokia to have its own DM and SMP products, originally named the “Motive Connected Device Platform,” and “Motive SMP”, respectively. And when Nokia’s current “Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things” (IMPACT) was launched in June 2016, the Motive Connected Device Platform was included with it as the foundation for this new, all-in-one IoT platform designed to handle “data collection, event processing, device management, data contextualization, data analytics, end-to-end security and applications enablement for any device, any protocol and across any application.” iSIM Secure Connect was launched later, in July 2021.
Focus, Continuity, and Improvement
Nokia’s DM and SMP businesses were part of its Cloud and Network Services (CNS) group. Recently, Nokia decided to focus its product offerings, stating that autonomous operation, private wireless, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) were to be CNS’ core competency; and that everything else was secondary. So, it is not surprising that this divestiture has happened. It is sensible for companies to actively manage their portfolios, to concentrate their time and effort on where they can achieve the best results soonest, and thereby generate the most revenue. Also, it does not mean the divested products are failures, just that the required synergies for success between product and parent were not present, and that other specialist parties may be better placed to justify and secure the funding needed to run and develop them further.
All of Nokia’s IMPACT IoT and iSIM Secure Connect customers will become customers of Lumine Group and Motive. The sale is intended to create an independent DM and SMP entity, run with the dedication and attention needed to outmaneuver competing companies whose offerings are entangled in a morass of other products and services. Simplicity is the key. Nokia states that its ex-customers will benefit from a seamless transition in service support, delivered by the same staff, and with the same guarantees, but with a clearer roadmap for development and plans for technology investment—a combination of focus, continuity, and improvement. Nokia counts 100+ customers across its DM and SMP product portfolios, with millions of downstream customers, and a billion connected devices, although the number of IMPACT IoT and iSIM Secure Connect customers specifically is not known.
Device management is one of the most vital aspects of the IoT today. The effective remote supervision of hardware is essential for operational fault detection, and firmware update installation; guaranteeing system longevity, and the desired Return on Investment (ROI), by minimizing truck rolls for maintenance or equipment replacement. The economics of the IoT requires foolproof guarantees for device lifecycle management, with IoT equipment being deployed and left active in the field, to operate autonomously, securing data for business-critical decision-making, for 3 to 10 years—and often longer. Similarly, Integrated Subscriber Identity Modules (iSIM) and Embedded Subscriber Identity Modules (eSIM) are among the most strategically important aspects of the IoT when looking to the future: to reduce Bill of Materials (BoM) costs and power consumption on the part of iSIM, and to improve flexibility and redundancy for connectivity services on the part of eSIM.
Expect More Spin-offs and Collaborations
We have already seen examples of the IoT assets of large manufacturers being returned to specialist vendors, after products gained through acquisition could not be scaled successfully. A year ago in December 2022, Ericsson called time on 11 years of its IoT Accelerator (nee “Device Connection Platform”), selling it to IoT service provider Aeris Communications. And for several years, there have been expectations that Cisco may sell off its IoT Control Center connectivity management platform. This is not because these products are poorly performing also-rans, they are empirically the most successful, and represent the benchmark for quality in the IoT. But as a very small portion of their parents’ turnover, there will always be higher priorities for funding, and to avoid a line of business being lost in the mix and failing, it is better to divest it while it is of value and sought after by others. It is guaranteed we will see more spin-offs or carve-outs similar to the one between Lumine Group and Nokia during 2024.
Nokia and Lumine Group will continue to cooperate strategically after the sale. Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) makes use of IMPACT IoT and iSIM Secure Connect, just as other Nokia products and services are interconnected with other DM and SMP products. Nokia will continue to integrate both into its remaining IoT offering, and claims that Nokia itself will now receive the downstream customer benefits of an even better funded, ergo a better supported and developed, version of IMPACT IoT and iSIM Secure Connect. WING will remain part of Nokia, but it is possible that further rationalization will occur. Nokia has never been shy about adapting its role. And the IoT is, increasingly, a market that large incumbents want to maintain an influence in and to benefit from, but with others conducting the decision-making, and at least party sourcing the funding for.