Every so often as an analyst a new product comes along that fits perfectly with how you see the market. Earlier this month the launch in question was Nokia’s ‘Data Marketplace’. This new product sits squarely in the market space that we describe in one of our twelve Digital Transformation technology families, specifically the data exchange and clearing house functionality within our ‘Data Sharing’ category.
This is a market space that I have been pushing for quite some time, but with only a limited number of really evolved offerings. The pick of the bunch have been Deutsche Telekom’s Data Intelligence Hub, and KPN’s Data Services Hub.
Nokia’s offering is a white label as-a-service solution, so that’s a first tick. Big box telecom equipment vendors have had their fingers burnt competing with their Communications Service Provider clients. It’s sensible to instead build a product for CSPs to take to market. The second big plus is that it provides most of the key functionality for access control, policy control, validation and settlement that we would expect to see.
Also worth noting that it’s not IoT-specific, as should be the case. It’s focusing a lot of attention of IoT, which is understandable given how IoT-generated data is going to be amongst the most valuable and ripe for trading. But inevitably there’s a need for integration with other datasets.
There are a number of interesting features to the platform. It’s provisioned on a ‘broker’ model, handling access control and rights. It also makes significant use of blockchain for the associated smart contracts. It also allows for AI orchestration, which is not a set of functionality we have seen from other vendors.
Nokia is clearly conscious that it might not be immediately apparent to a potential CSP adopter how to commercialise this. For that reason, it’s building business model support and some specific applications. There are a number of pre-defined use cases, mostly around IoT including supply chain, car parking and more. Currently this is focused on transport, energy, smart cities and a few others. Transport, energy and smart cities are solid choices. Smart cities because the data is typically easy to share and the motivations of data owners are typically well aligned with a wide distribution, for instance of ensuring that people are aware of train or bus times. Both transport and energy have several stakeholders with a vested interest in sharing data in a timely fashion.
For more discussion on the features, functionality and architecture, and our views on the strengths and weaknesses of Data Marketplace, see the recent report we published a few weeks ago entitled ‘Nokia Data Marketplace is a strong play for the emerging data exchange market, but is too oriented towards closed user groups’. One of the big issues is that it is too heavily focused on closed user groups rather than truly multi-tenanted systems. This itself raises the question of why it uses blockchain (if the system is essential trustful), and also why the payment mechanism seems to be provisioned as an adjacent system, rather than an integrated part of the offering. But as a first pass at an offering to fit into this space, it looks good. Good news also for data centre partner Equinix as it seeks to find ways to operate in an agile orchestration role rather than going toe-to-toe with the hyperscalers.