Aeris acquires Ericsson’s IoT business

  • December 7, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Aeris is to acquire Ericsson’s IoT business in a deal that will see Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator and Connected Vehicle Cloud businesses and related assets be transferred to Aeris.

Ericsson’s IoT employees will become part of Aeris at the closing of the transaction which is expected to be early next year.

Ericsson IoT Accelerator is used by over 9000 enterprises to manage more than 95 million connected devices with 22 million eSIM connections globally. Connected Vehicle Cloud is said to be the most complete connected-car platform on the market, with frontrunners in automotive IoT using it to connect six million vehicles and counting across 180 countries.

Founded in 1996, California-based Aeris is an expert in the IoT field, providing businesses with intelligent IoT cellular connectivity. Its stack is being brought to the market through an ecosystem of channel partners, communications service providers and direct sales organisations. Aeris’ Intelligent IoT Network, targeting industry verticals such as transportation, energy, automotive and healthcare, gives communications service providers the opportunity to monetise new services on top of connectivity enabled by the IoT Accelerator.  The company has already teamed up with several communication service providers including Softbank, AT&T, T-Mobile and Vodafone, and is working with automotive original equipment manufacturers.

Together, Aeris’ and Ericsson’s IoT platforms will connect over 100 million IoT devices worldwide, covering 190 countries. For users, this provides the stability, reliability and global scale needed to support the full lifecycle of IoT programmes across multiple industries, use cases and geographies.

Through the transaction, Aeris will simplify IoT for 9400 enterprises by providing them with a global, feature-rich platform with secure, reliable and intelligent IoT products. To communications service providers, the transaction of Ericsson’s IoT businesses to Aeris will result in a partner that continues to provide customers with an IoT connectivity platform, while offering new value-added services to help grow IoT revenue streams.

“Aeris has been successful in extending its IoT offering beyond connectivity and has the right focus, assets, and capabilities to realise the full value creation potential of Ericsson’s IoT business and its strong market presence,” said Åsa Tamsons, head of business area technologies at Ericsson. “Despite significant investments to address the fragmentation of the IoT market, Ericsson has only tapped into a limited part of the value chain, limiting the returns of such investments. The combined business will offer an unparalleled IoT platform for enterprises and new revenue streams for communication service providers, ultimately benefiting Ericsson’s customers. Aeris is a good home for our IoT business.”

With the cellular IoT market being a rather fragmented sector, a consolidation of two industry leading players is expected to accelerate the IoT market overall. IoT will be a fundamental and growing part of the 4G and 5G market.

“Building the best technology to support the success of our customers and drive innovation in the IoT space have always been at the forefront for Aeris,” said Marc Jones, CEO of Aeris. “Our intelligent, software defined IoT network and Ericsson’s leading connectivity management platform will provide the leading IoT technology stack in the industry. We look forward to bringing these new, transformational IoT solutions and Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator and Connected Vehicle Cloud products to our customers.”

The transaction includes the transfer of Ericsson’s assets and employees in its IoT business to Aeris. In addition, Ericsson intends to support Aeris with transition services and will acquire a small stake in the company. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.

Ericsson’s IoT business, in partnership with Thales, has launched a service offering generic eSIMs unbundled from pre-selected service providers.

Called IoT Accelerator Device Connect, the service gives enterprises the flexibility to select one or more service providers easily and instantly at the time of device activation. This business model can accelerate enterprises’ time to market for their IoT deployments.

At the core of IoT Accelerator Device Connect is a generic profile on every enterprise eSIM, allowing IoT devices and modules to be shipped connection-ready without the need to pre-select mobile network providers. Manufacturers can ship a single global stock-keeping unit (SKU), giving enterprises full control to select easily and programmatically the service providers that best suit their deployment needs.

Via Ericsson IoT’s digital marketplace, enterprises can choose the most suitable partners for each device’s use case, selecting from Ericsson’s ecosystem of global service provider members.

“IoT Accelerator Device Connect is a game-changer for the IoT ecosystem,” said Kyle Okamoto, general manager of IoT at Ericsson. “This significantly simplifies and fast-tracks the adoption of cellular IoT by offering generic eSIMs, giving enterprises more choices and flexibility. Businesses, service providers, and chipset and module vendors benefit from removed barriers and accelerated time to market. In addition, the enterprise experience is improved as companies can seamlessly deploy their eSIM devices anywhere in the world. One SKU, one platform, simple, instant and global – this is how you change the game.”

Thales is Ericsson IoT’s strategic technology partner providing the device connect eSIMs, the generic connectivity profile and remote SIM provisioning enabling eSIMs to work with any participating IoT accelerator service provider.

“With more products becoming connected, it is key for IoT enterprises to scale up by streamlining device deployment,” said Emmanuel Unguran, vice president at Thales. “Thanks to Ericsson IoT Accelerator Device Connect, OEM enterprises for the first time can manufacture their eSIM-enabled devices without selecting a specific service provider at this stage. The service provider can be selected any time after manufacturing once the devices are deployed in the field. This greatly removes complexity in manufacturing and logistics and gives enterprises the flexibility they need.”

IoT Accelerator Device Connect is an integral part of Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator platform. Enterprises and connections leverage Ericsson’s growing ecosystem of more than 35 service provider partners for global cellular connectivity. As the first service providers to offer the service, Telstra has teamed up with Swisscom to deliver IoT Accelerator Device Connect to enterprises globally.

“As a service provider partner for IoT Accelerator and IoT Accelerator Device Connect, we are excited to be one of the first operators to offer the service globally to enterprise customers,” said Mark Chapman, Telstra executive for industry and applications. “By facilitating enterprises’ ability to speed up their sales cycle and streamline their inventory management, we bring more business value to our customers.”

Felix Wunderer, head of IoT at Swisscom, added: “Switzerland is known for innovative enterprises always looking for product and service improvements. We see IoT Accelerator Device Connect as an important enabler that simplifies cellular IoT adoption processes and logistics, especially for enterprises rolling out large numbers of connected devices globally.”

Module vendors are additional strategic go-to-market business partners offering IoT Accelerator Device Connect to device manufacturers and enterprises. Ericsson has tested and verified the service with module brands such as Fibocom, U-Blox, Simcom, Sequans and Nordic Semiconductor. IoT Accelerator Device Connect works with their modules and is readily available for device manufacturers.