M2M on a mission to transform businesses: will it succeed?

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Fotolia_35216738_XS240x226.jpgM2M is on a mission. This consumer-friendly technological marvel is poised to become an integral part of a potentially transformative change on a vast number of industries through services and applications. 

For enterprise users, it will become an invaluable tool for increasing efficient work processes and, further to that, decrease opex and capex. Some interesting figures have been published by Visiongain recently, concluding that M2M (Machine-to-Machine) revenues will be worth $38.1bn in 2012, demonstrating its mass potential. 

This view is backed by a Strategy Analytics report, “M2M 2012 Outlook: Towards Standardization, Cloud Platforms and Open Source”, which says that the M2M market consolidation will continue in 2012, and mobile operators will look to move up the value chain through partnering or creation of M2M service platforms.

what’s driving this change in such a major way?

The continuous innovations in new devices and services means firms are able to break into varied Machine-to-Person and Person-to-Machine areas, such as consumer electronics and mHealth.

Strategy Analytics’ figures estimate that M2M represents a sizeable opportunity, potentially reaching 4.3 billion connections by 2020 in connected consumer devices, automation, mHealth devices, maintenance and vehicles.

In Barcelona, at Mobile World Congress, M2M was a hot topic, with deals announced between Telefonica and GM Onstar, NTT DoCoMo and Jasper Wireless, as well as Nespresso with Sierra Wireless and Orange Business Services, highlight the growing importance of M2M and the increasingly global nature of M2M deployments.

increased shipments of compatible devices

This innovation follows years of growth for the market. Berg Insight estimates that shipments of cellular M2M devices increased by 35.3% to a new record level of 50.8 million units in 2011. Adjusted for churn, this resulted in net additions of 29.3 million M2M connections in 2011, taking the worldwide number of cellular M2M subscribers to an estimated 108.0 million.

In addition, the analysts forecast that the number of cellular M2M connections will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.2%t between 2011 and 2016 to reach 359.3 million at the end of the period.

use in the consumer space

Consumer M2M applications - centered on small/portable consumer electronics devices such as e-readers and digital connected photo-frames - are the closest to telcos' core capabilities of providing digital lifestyle services.

For instance, M2M (machine-to-machine)-enabled devices have changed the way we read, thanks to dedicated ereading devices; the way we work out, thanks to connected-fitness devices; and the way we drive, thanks to in-vehicle telematics systems. Now, M2M technology is even changing the way we park our cars.

A consumer's digital footprint provides a context that will help firms to further enhance their other consumer offerings, such as mobile advertising and location-based services or to deploy contactless payments technology, such as near field communications (NFC).

"2012 is expected to be a year when telcos will begin developing consumer M2M opportunities in addition to their current enterprise focus. Companies with a strong consumer brand and deep consumer digital offering could most readily capture this approach," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst, Yiru Zhong.

deployment challenges

Of course, deployment of such technologies comes with technical issues and challenges, which need to be reviewed carefully before commencing deployment. Click here to read an extract from the book “Ad Hoc Wireless Networks,” by C. Siva Ram Murthy and B.S. Manoj, by Pearson Education, which has some useful tips.

Is M2M considered routine now? Are you looking at helping customers with consolidation and standardization more than education today? And are hotspots becoming more common place thanks to revolutions in small cell technology? Are you promoting this as an area to watch or is it more of a wait-and-see approach?

image © shockfactor - Fotolia.com

Nicolas Jacquey
Joe Fernandez

Joe Fernandez is a technology writer and blogger for Futurity Media. As a journalist, he was an editor on Computer Weekly and Microscope magazines and worked as a deputy editor for Marketing Week and its sister title Pitch covering online marketing and social media developments. Joe has also appeared in titles including New Media Age, Guardian Computing, Computing Magazine, The Inquirer and Mobile Magazine.