Vodafone this week discussed its 'less is more' approach to supporting to its machine-to-machine (M2M) customers.
"Minimum intervention is really key," Jari Salminen, business development manager at Vodafone's M2M business, told Total Telecom during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
It makes for a simple, intuitive customer experience when processes like registering new connected devices with Vodafone's M2M platform happen automatically, and it helps the operator keep a lid on support costs, he explained.
However, he insisted that Vodafone's idea of minimum intervention does not mean its M2M customers won't get the help they require when it is needed.
"If something happens to a device, for us, it might be only a small problem because it is only a small volume of data, but for the customer it might be a business critical connection, which is why we put global SLAs in place," said Salminen.
With M2M uptake accelerating, Vodafone also saw a need to adapt its approach to providing support for its M2M customers.
"Historically for M2M you [the customer] had to set up three elements – the hardware, network and the application – separately, and if something went wrong there were three different support teams," he explained. "Now we have one global M2M help desk that does the support. One call and we will check all the parameters and give the customer a list of options for what to do next depending on the situation."
Vodafone also took the opportunity during Mobile World Congress this week to show off its new M2M modem.
Called MachineLink 3G, the device is designed for light industrial work, such as transmitting sensor data or receiving content or new settings sent to machines that already have an Ethernet port. At Vodafone's "Connected City" booth, it was being used to demonstrate a digital signage service.
"It works out of the box with Vodafone's global M2M platform," said Salminen, which is in line with the operator's bid to maximise automation.
However, for operators that want to capture the lion's share of revenue from M2M, customer support is where the 'less is more' approach must end.
M2M analyst firm Machina Research forecast in November that the M2M market