Sprint: Embracing the "Jetson's Age" with New M2M Strategies

Mike Fitz, VP of Business Solutions Standing against a yellow and black backdrop emblazoned with the company logo, Mike Fitz, Sprint vice president of Business Solutions, beamed jubilantly as he recalled his previous roles in customer services and product management in the organization.

“Winning is important and winning everyday with integrity at work or in life is what really makes a difference,” said Fitz contentedly as he thought of how Sprint bravely whisked past the pre- and post- Internet era. With integrity and the zest to breathe life into innovative ideas, the company has stood against the test of time and redefined the scope of Internet and IoT concepts in business

Reminiscing through his nearly two-decade-long journey in the telecommunications industry, Fitz pointed at the most remarkable chapter in the company’s history: the confluence of technology and business! Companies woke up to the new concept of Internet and emails, struggled and tirelessly, revolted against conventional approaches to welcome and implement the unavoidable change to enhance employee productivity and business success. “Fast forward to the present, we are heading to the “Jetson’s age” where CIOs are overwhelmed with a deluge of choices in technology, resulting from the convergence of trends like IoT, mobile, BYOD, cloud computing, and social media,” says Fitz.“The challenge for CIOs even today lies in managing the influx of technologies as well as leveraging trends such as IoT and ensuring security of interconnected platforms. Achieving these will help them focus more intrinsically on employee enablement and externally on overall business performance.”

Sprint, with the unique amalgam of solutions and the talent of its workforce, empowers organizations to address the imminent industry complexities by engaging their IT systems to be more effective and productive.

Starting with an Innovative Spirit

“Since our inception as an enabler of employees’ IT and telecommunication needs, we have been known for our innovative approach, which has helped us branch our technology platform to new verticals,” added Fitz. Launched even before the coinage of the term M2M, Sprint was one of the few organizations to begin its operations in the IoT space and excel in providing GPS services. “The advent of M2M and connected devices helped us unravel ways to harness technology tools for streamlining workflows, assets and human resources to fulfill businesses prophecies,” Fitz said.

Today IoT is more than connecting devices and is all about the way business operations are being managed and monitored. “In 2009 we merged our M2M operations into a single business unit to enable M2M and embedded solutions across a variety of key verticals, including transportation, retail and insurance,” he said. “We’re also identifying partners to help us develop packaged solutions for the healthcare, security space as well as consumer wearables.”

Sprint’s M2M business is its growth area, reporting more than eight million connected devices by the end of June 2015. Sprint, with its vast expertise and knowledge in providing wireline and wireless services, provides a range of simple, flexible services that help workforces to collaborate, scale, mobilize and accelerate.

“Our philosophy is to be a part of the ecosystem and not be the ecosystem,” Fitz explained. Unlike other organizations, Sprint combines the best of partner technologies to create end-to-end solutions,
including product, network, billing and management, which are easy to implement and manage. “We believe in being a trusted and valued partner in the ecosystem. We’ve maintained decade-long associations with our customers by providing them service-driven solutions,” he added.

Inception of Workplace-as-a Service

From a broader perspective, the firm’s solutions platform encompasses wireless voice and data, converged solutions, M2M tools, and a few methods such as Workplace-as-a-Service and Google Apps for Work for Business to promote workplace mobility. Launched in March 2015, Workplace-as-a-Service, the industry’s first fully managed employee enablement experience provides all the technology needed to run a business with a predictable per-user, per-month basis.<

Sprint plus Google Apps for Work for Business delivers a centralized and simplified experience for businesses from one single source, to help employees work better together and grow faster.

Controlling M2M with Command Center

The company’s solution, Command Center, is a part of the IoT and M2M evolution that aids customers with control provisioning, billing, management and solution application development of connected devices on a global level without network constraints. This platform simplifies the job of device management by three unique methods – enhanced provisioning of thousands of devices, offering advanced billing solutions and powerful management tools.

The solution’s latest iteration – Command Center 2.0, ensures its users better visibility on costs, performance and ROI of their overall IoT infrastructure. Whether it is offering fleet services, point-of-sale or asset tracking solutions, or managing any number of connected devices on Sprint’s Command Center 2.0, helps companies to incorporate M2M processes. The powerful management tools accompanying this solution favor unique device needs of companies based on the time of the day, geography, usage and limits. Additionally, this offering has increased product sales of many clients, allowing them to have profound insights on business processes and productivity.

“The markets we deal with today are not only transient but also highly competitive,” Fitz added. “It is impossible to point and predict the future of IoT, but with solutions like the Command Center, we are reaching out to be a part of M2M ecosystem and not try to be ecosystem.” With the advancements occurring at a dizzying pace in the IoT domain, the problem shifts from gaining efficiency to management of hundreds and thousands or even millions of connected devices. As per Sprint’s estimates, the Command Center is available in more than 200 countries around the globe. “Many of our customers with a global footprint face this issue and “by taking a consultative approach, our command center solution seamlessly manages clients' global devices before and after its implementation,” said Fitz. Global device management implies mobility and Sprint is impeccably equipped to gratify this need of enterprises.

Mobility: A Simple Service Methodology

Mobility-as-a-Service, one of the company’s robust services offerings, is a well-packaged solution that takes in all elements that an IT leader would be consumed with. The latest business innovation fostered by Sprint packages a comprehensive set that includes the mobile device, service plan and enhanced care and support capabilities for a single, predictable, monthly price per employee.

Also included within the monthly service charge is device protection, Wi-Fi calling, collaboration tools, data downloads, dedicated customers services support and 24/7 IT support rendered to customers. “Our Mobility-as-a-Service is a bold new way to accelerate insights, decision-making, and operations by chief acceleration officers to optimize on IoT,” extols Fitz.
“Service is another aspect that is embedded deeply in our corporate DNA,” said Fitz. “Our dedicated team of product, marketing and operations experts and engineers with our go-to-market approach is what I believe sets Sprint ahead of its competition. We don’t just hand our clients a contract and walk away. We invest time and effort in understanding customers’ business concerns.”

Sprinting Success to Clients

The success of the Sprint’s solutions has gained a worldwide recognition and is key contributor of long-term association with customers that include Rockville Science Center, C&C Group, Spireon and MTS, and Snow Plus. In one instance, Tollgrade Communications, a renowned provider of Smart Grid Sensors with Predictive Grid Analytics, approached Sprint to implement Command Center 2.0 to facilitate their requirement for real-time information to immediately restore power to their customers. By deploying Command Center 2.0, the client was able to effortlessly troubleshoot and provision their sensors on Sprint’s network to create a reliable communication infrastructure for their sensors.

Another client of Sprint, Rockville Science Center also experienced incremental enhancements in their business by adopting the company’s M2M solution for tablet-based point-of-sale. The customer was unable to wirelessly accept donations and suffered from lack of adequate check and cash donations. With Sprint’s support, the client was able to implement the Vantiv Mobile Accept Application and Card Reader to wirelessly accept payments and organize new marketing campaigns to increase donation income and donor engagement.

Driving the Future with Innovation

Innovation is an indispensable factor of Sprint that is promoted by the company’s Accelerator Program. The Sprint Accelerator Program conducted in Kansas marks the company’s ability in driving entrepreneurial growth and stimulates technological advancements. The aim of this program is to recognize 10 companies that will receive funds up to $120,000 to encourage their innovative business ideas.

“The Accelerator program is a valuable investment made by our organization that has resulted in attracting new business talent and making a new home for entrepreneurs,” says Mohamad Nasser, Senior Director, Product, Platforms and Marketing for Sprint’s Emerging Solutions Group. “We are excited to be planning the next Sprint Accelerator, which will be open to all mobile technology providers and used to deliver-year round programming for STEM and other entrepreneurial community collaboration.”


Our dedicated team of product, marketing and operations experts and engineers with our go-to-market approach is what I believe sets Sprint ahead of its competition


For the road ahead, Sprint is gearing up to embrace the rise of connected “things” – now expected to have over 2.5 billion users by the end of 2050. “We are prepared for this change and believe in using our capabilities and assets to move in the direction the market is heading,” Fitz said. Sprint is all set to welcome the exciting times it has ahead and plans to carry its innovative spirit to expand its product portfolio and ecosystem of technology providers to grow at a greater level.

Company
Sprint

Headquarters
Overland Park, KS

Management
Mike Fitz, VP of Business Solutions

Description
A communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most.