Alcatel-Lucent Acquires Mformation

By Sara Brown and Joyce Deuley

Another platform bites the dust with Alcatel-Lucent’s recent purchase of Mformation, a security and control management platform for IoT devices. It is curious, however, that a company that is currently being acquired would acquire one itself. It is our belief that through this purchase, Alcatel’s Motive customer experience management (CEM) platform will receive much needed functionality. Ultimately, Motive gains a good product that was ripe for the picking with a solid customer base and one that has managed +500 devices throughout its lifetime. Also, from a mobility standpoint, this acquisition couldn’t be any better for Alcatel as the combined forces of Mformation and Motive add a compelling layer to the company, sweetening the deal for Alcatel’s purchaser, Nokia.
 
Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive CEM has been around for a while and focuses on providing service management solutions for service providers as part of their Agile customer experience (CX) offerings. Through Motive, these service providers can increase customer service, reduce customer churn and can maximize their offerings through next generation CX management platforms and tool sets. Additional benefits to utilizing the Motive SMP include: reduced operations/IT expenses with its drag-n-drop workflow, management task consolidation/coordination across service delivery ecosystem, its unique plug-in architecture, and supported mobile, fixed and enterprise service management solutions.
 
Mformation provides a great opportunity for Alcatel-Lucent to offer service providers secure, end-to-end device management solutions for devices across different parts of the IoT stack, including home, mobile and enterprise networks. As more devices become connected, the need for increased security will also grow. Mformation directly addresses security issues with effective management and security solutions—which is a good thing, since more than 50 million IoT devices have been either attacked or recalled within the last year alone and is expected to increase overtime. Mformation has spent the last 16 years growing its business and has positioned itself as a compelling answer to data network security issues and will help add a dynamic layer to Motive’s platform overall.
 
The topic of security has become so prevalent within the IoT industry, it’s on everyone’s lips—we’ve sat through session after session, webinar after webinar, and have heard the same thing: “Securing these devices is of paramount importance to the growth of the industry, and an issue we take very seriously. But to truly ensure that your data is protected…(insert finger pointing here).” Whatever the subject topic (hardware, sensors, software, platforms, carrier technology, ecosystem…etc.), the question of IoT security invariably comes up. Even the FBI is getting in on the action, with a recent public service announcement warning of the threat of cyber crime that leverages the IoT.
 
Yet, despite the buzz, no one seems to be stepping up to fully accept responsibility for if/when mission-, or worse, life-critical applications get hacked. And, quite frankly, it’s becoming embarrassing. At least with Alcatel-Lucent’s acquisition of Mformation, Alcatel seems to be clearly stating that it needs to leverage Mformation’s software to secure both network infrastructure and the transactions that move across it. Not only is it taking action, it is even willing to talk about it—openly, and not in veiled, generalized terms. Hopefully, other IoT players will follow suite. It’d be great to catch someone giving the right answer to the security question—for once—and demonstrate that they are taking responsibility for their share of the solution.