EP SQUARE :: Project & Interim Management

Project & Interim Management

Alex van der Linden

Development and implementation of the KPN M2M platform

November 2008 to July 2011

The market for machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions is growing rapidly and is considered to be one of the few current growth markets in mobile communications. M2M concerns communications between peripheral devices and a back-end system, without human intervention. Examples are soft drink vending machines automatically communicating with a planning system when they need to be re-stocked, smart energy meters calling a central database to pass on their meter readings, and navigation devices that check for on-line traffic information whilst calculating an itinerary. Although new technologies are foreseen in the near future, currently most M2M solutions make use of mobile telecommunications networks.

M2M solutions tend to concern very large numbers of devices each communicating relatively small amounts of data. In M2M solutions, such devices are typically centrally managed, for example by the network management department of a utility company that deploys smart meters.

The M2M requirements for installation, deployment, management and service tend to differ from those in the mainstream mobile environment. In order to develop and deliver high-end competitive service propositions in this new business area, KPN has joined forces with Jasper Wireless, the U.S. market leader and supplier of a state-of-the-art M2M platform. KPN’s ambition to play a major role in the emerging European M2M market has generated a series of projects, in each of which I have played a leading role.

The first and most complex project concerned the integration of the Jasper Wireless M2M platform in the KPN mobile network, and the simultaneous deployment of these services for ‘launching customer’ Garmin, who had agreed to roll out their navigation services throughout Europe and Australia using KPN’s M2M solution. I had two roles in this project. As KPN’s customer project manager, I was the operational interface to Garmin, responsible for timely delivery of the agreed services according to contract. In addition, I was responsible for the overall planning, and for process development within the total project, managing the development and implementation of billing, service management, incident management, accreditation, provisioning, reporting, production and logistics.

The project was very successful, and managed to deliver early despite very challenging time lines. An important success factor was that I have avoided imposing ‘top-down’ project planning deadlines, but worked ‘bottom-up’ instead, tapping into the creativity of our project staff to find ways to improve total project duration. Equally important, I have managed the project plans of Garmin, Jasper Wireless and KPN using a single integrated planning, allowing each company to take the important deadlines and dependencies of the other parties into consideration.

After completion of this initial project, which delivered basic M2M service capability, a number of successive projects were set up to further develop services and features, and to deploy the M2M service internationally with KPN’s subsidiaries E-Plus (Germany) and BASE (Belgium). In addition, KPN set up a dedicated business unit to start building up market share in this fast-growing market.

I have been closely involved in setting up this business unit, and in the first 18 months, I was Management Team member and Manager Operations. In this position, I managed the various national and international M2M projects, and I was responsible for the implementation of all new customers.

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