Verizon Enterprise chief looks past AT&T, eyes Amazon and Google as rivals

John Stratton discusses prospects of mobile platform to rival iOS and Android, how the cloud is reshaping IT, and more

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As you think about what I've just described now, if each of these need to grow and build and expand their reach in their respective domains, it allows me then to federate at some level. If I create billing engines and payment engines that can be used by any, now you can use them in combination. The way I like to think about this is I have a picture of our platform, and it's getting more and more interesting to look at. It's like a series of bricks and it starts at the network layer and it works its way up into the IaaS layer, the PaaS layer, the SaaS layer. You see what's owned and operated, strategic, less strategic, partner here, acquire here, develop here, all this infrastructure.

From a commercial development perspective, I should feel very comfortable with the idea that there's a range of users of this platform. It starts with a guy who might simply be using a piece of my network to deliver a solution. I don't have any idea he's even doing it. And it works its way up to a person who might be using two or three elements of my infrastructure, to someone who I might be doing billing on behalf of, all the way up to the partner who's developed a SaaS solution that is my principal solution for a particular industry in a particular space that is fully embedded in my infrastructure and I'm actually repping it, all the way to owned and operated, where it's literally me.

Take Network Fleet, my commercial telematics business, where it's my application, my data analytics, my platform, my network -- obviously, maximum value capture here. I want to make sure that as we go from largest to smallest that we have created a very easy, open, simple, frictionless environment in which companies can interact with us, companies can enable their solutions, they can bring them to market. I will find a model economically that allows me to capture my investments, but that to me is sort of the secret sauce, if we can pull that off. That's what we're building toward.

One last cloud question: We do an unaided question on a survey about cloud -- who are the top cloud providers? And it's Amazon, Google, at the top of the list. Does it frustrate you -- with the size of your cloud business -- that Verizon's name doesn't come up?

To no end.

Do you think that will change?

I do. I am quite certain of it. I say that with great confidence because first and foremost my experience, my background is as a marketer. But the first thing you do, in my opinion, is make it great and then let the world come and see. I don't want to market ahead of capabilities. Now, we have good capabilities right now. We are building great capabilities. You're going to see us about the second half of this year begin to really spool up. But every time I read any analyst's piece, any article, that talks about cloud leaders that doesn't mention Verizon, every member of my executive leadership team gets a copy of it from me, because I want it to annoy them.

I could just create trouble for you by doing that.

Yeah. You absolutely can.

The Internet of things -- GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt says it will add trillions of dollars in value to our GDP. How big a business is it today for Verizon Enterprise and where do you see it going?

It's measured today in the millions of connections. I think there is a range of views in terms of how big it is by the end of this decade. I've heard anywhere from as low as 10 billion to as high as 30 billion machines connected to the Internet. This is another area we are trying to get out ahead of -- hence, the acquisition of Hughes. And some other things, like nPhase, which was a very small venture we did with Qualcomm, which we bought out last year.

But if you think about the Internet of things, it is very natural for us -- IP networks, the wireless networks, the administrative platforms, controlling the endpoints and all the sort of monitor, managing control stuff. Also, the cloud storage. We've been doing dozens and dozens of these fairly sophisticated machine-to-machine implementations for companies in all kinds of fields -- heavy machinery, manufacturing, financial services, insurance is a big one, vending, supply chain, energy management, a lot of smart grid stuff. We did a very significant smart grid implementation for a regional utility company who is now drowning in petabytes of information and so it's actually added cost for them. It looks like a problem, but in talking to the CEO of that business, it's: How do you turn that into an opportunity? What do you want to do with that data -- not only to manage and run your business, but what other value does that data have?

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