M2M Ecosystem Growing as Everyone Wants a Piece of the Action

Kathryn Weldon
Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • M2M World Congress, held in London on April 25th and 26th, brought together a diverse ecosystem of companies that offer M2M solutions, including prominent players such as operators, integrators and chipset/module vendors, as well as a few surprises.
  • Despite the relatively small annual revenues associated with M2M today, few companies want to be left out of what is predicted to be a trillion dollar market, with 20-50 billion connections and a wide variety of related services, equipment and software opportunities by 2020.

M2M World Congress was noticeably lacking in end users (with the exception of the UK National Grid), but most of the usual suspects participated, giving fairly high-level presentations on the market and on their particular solutions, along with the usual caveats concerning the obstacles that are still in the way of massive market growth.  There were a number of operator presentations and panels (with EE, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Swisscom, Telefonica, Etisalat, Orange and satellite provider Inmarsat in attendance), as well as individual presentations by:

  • CGI, a prominent M2M and enterprise systems integrator, which described M2M market trends;
  • Oracle, which described how pairing Java in M2M devices with Oracle databases provides an ideal coupling of technologies for managing big data sets and analytic services;
  • Gemalto, which described the specific elements in M2M deployments that require unique security solutions;
  • Cumulocity, which offers a software cloud designed for M2M scalability, new business models and app development optimization;
  • Orbcomm, well-known as an MVNO, but also now an asset management specialist;
  • Freescale, a vendor of specialized DSRC semiconductors for vehicle-to-vehicle communications;
  • Gieseke & Devrient, a technology company that is trialing a software-enabled SIM solution that allows flexible, on-the-fly operator subscriptions; and
  • Telit, one of the largest module manufacturers for M2M, which is adding value-added solutions for streamlining operations and lowering the TCO of M2M deployments.

The last three presentations were particularly interesting, as they were from companies not generally associated with M2M, including: Sony, which noted that it is involved in digital signage, surveillance solutions and embedded sensors; Amdocs, which provides OSS/BSS and customer service solutions to operators; and Carbon War Room, a group of entrepreneurs headed by Sir Richard Branson that views M2M as a key enabler for worldwide carbon footprint reduction.

Also in attendance with booth discussions/demos were HP, ThingWorx (which offers an M2M app development platform), IBM and Ericsson.  While IBM (with its Smart Planet and Smart City initiatives) and Ericsson (which offers one of the leading service delivery platforms for operators) are at most M2M events, attendance by HP was especially interesting as it is less known in M2M, although its Communications and Media Solutions group is very active in the market.  A list of HP’s accomplishments includes: running the GM OnStar system for ten years, running smart metering deployments, providing M2M security, offering an SDP platform and offering a strong analytics practice.  There were also a few surprise no-shows: several of the better-known SDP vendors or module manufacturers that offer app platforms (e.g., Jasper, Novatel Wireless, Sierra Wireless, Digi); several major system integrators that are associated with M2M (e.g., Accenture and CSC); several prominent mobile operators (e.g., Vodafone, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Telenor Connexion); and other big network infrastructure vendors that have M2M solutions (e.g., Cisco).  All in all, M2M World Congress highlighted the ever-broadening ecosystem for M2M, which seems to get bigger every few months as we head towards the tantalizing market opportunity of 50 billion connected devices.

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