New approach to M2M a boon for the enterprise
The machine-to-machine (M2M) communications market has heated up the summer with two major announcements from the country’s two largest operators — Verizon and AT&T. And these announcements look to break the M2M market wide open.
Last week, Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm announced a joint venture for end-to-end M2M solutions that will span across health-care, manufacturing, utilities, distribution and consumer products. The companies said the joint venture, which doesn’t yet have a name, will be a one-stop shop that will automate wireless devices and provide provisioning, specialized applications and wireless network connectivity for firms that want M2M services.
Similarly, AT&T and Jasper Wireless made an exclusive deal in May, calling for Jasper to provide the activation, billing and connectivity support for all embedded wireless devices — ranging from tracking and health-care devices to personal gaming consoles — that connect to AT&T’s network.
The deals play into what mobile operators have been saying is the next growth wave. Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon Communications — now the largest mobile operator in the United States — earlier this year said the next generation of wireless will be one that ushers in penetration rates for the wireless industry of more than 500%, largely because of the expected widespread adoption of M2M applications.
Most importantly, these deals appear to have the ingredients that analysts have said all along are key to the success of the M2M market: the ability to bring together key M2M pieces such as network connectivity, distribution, device certification, and remote monitoring and management. Historically, M2M players have had a difficult time bringing all of these capabilities under one roof, essentially stifling this market.
What this means is more options and cheaper devices. A heavy focus on the consumer side — such as wireless-enabled cameras, portable gaming devices and even picture frames — means the cost of M2M solutions should be falling quite rapidly.
I’m looking forward to the competitive salvos from Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. This new emphasis on connected devices is a boon for the enterprise world. It appears the race is on for the most holistic approach to M2M.