Machine-to-Machine(M2M) services are key to Operators’ foray into newer business verticals that are fast replacing the revenues from more traditional streams. Among these emerging verticals are the smart city and smart home services, telematics and connected car services and industry specific M2M offerings covering key sectors such as power, transportation, health, financial and manufacturing. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2020, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) market will grow to USD3 Trillion and the number of ‘Connected Things’ around the globe will reach 30 billion. Smart City market for example, will be worth USD626 billion, said Tech Mahindra in a recent statement. By 2020, 10% of the mobile market will be made up of M2M communications, said GSMA.
With the increase in M2M services, newer technologies continue to surface in this area, including technologies that enable these connected machines to communicate using only a fraction of bandwidth that would have otherwise been use, devices which run on very low power, enhanced batteries that are able to power devices for a much longer time and wireless charging that automatically charges various appliances allowing more and more ‘smart’ mobile devices to have perpetual lives and collect and continuously disseminate various information for long time periods.
Service providers who were providing connectivity to mobile communication devices will become providers of connectivity to thousands of these ‘edge node’ devices ranging from thermostats in buildings, cameras installed along streets, smart street furniture that receive and display data sent from computers hundreds of miles away, smart lighting in homes and health monitoring devices used for remote healthcare services.
While connectivity itself seems like a good value proposition in expanding operators’ business - charging users for the data used on these machines/devices, what Operators are seeing today is the demand for integrated end-to-end M2M services where Operators provide M2M service platforms that enable various players including device makers to ‘connect’ their devices and offer their customers applications on which information can be accessed, processed, downloaded and integrated to their other business processes. Operators’ cloud-based M2M platforms will form the ecosystem core, enabling different brands to come together for a truly integrated service offering for areas such as ‘Smart Home’, ‘Smart City’, ‘Smart Health’ as well as Industrial M2M applications where different M2M devices/appliances/machines are converged onto a single platform and are able to interact with each other based on the information received and disseminated via the Cloud.
What we are seeing in this space in recent months is the many tie-ups and agreements between Operators and providers of cloud-based IoT service platforms whose solutions are critical to enable orchestration between enterprises offering M2M services, the operator's network, enterprise information platforms and third party applications. Operators are also beefing up their cloud services incorporating capabilities such as QoS management for critical applications and security services such as anti-DDoS. At the same time, Operators are forging never seen before commercial level partnerships between themselves to enable them to offer their customers, especially their global enterprise customers the most comprehensive coverage across all regions. With all the buzz surrounding M2M and with major Operators making strategic investments, acquiring new capabilities and expanding their businesses in this area, it is necessary for new players in this ecosystem, including M2M service providers to keep abreast of enabling technologies and solutions as well as market trends that will be critical for them to develop their own solution design, their suite of products and services and their own ecosystem in ensuring that they are equipped and ready to tap into this fast growing market.
The IoT/M2M Webinar Series will feature a series of webinar presentations on the above topics, highligthing service provider initiatives and enabling technologies as well as latest industry trends and best practices. Stay tuned for more information.
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