M2M Evolution Conference: Platform Battles and Optimistic Use Cases

Kathryn Weldon
Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • M2M Evolution (in Las Vegas from August 27th to 29th) featured a ‘Battle of the Platforms,’ with the following winners: Etherios (winning for two categories – best horizontal and vertical platform), Amdocs (best provisioning platform), ThingWorx (best application development platform) and Xively (best non-platform implementation).
  • The ‘battle’ seemed to favor small companies that offer cloud-enabled development platforms to simplify M2M application development and management in a fragmented delivery ecosystem.  The implication is that this need for simplicity is being met with innovative solutions that empower businesses to bring together the pieces they need to create M2M solutions across device types, networks and disparate vertical industries.

The M2M Evolution Conference had an overarching message relating to the evolution of the industry; we are apparently evolving from a customized, expensive and difficult-to-implement one-off application environment to a simpler, gentler ecosystem where cloud-based platforms provide connectivity to and from any device; configure, manage, upgrade and troubleshoot devices even in very large deployments; and enlighten businesses through data visualization.  The winners of the ‘Battle of the Platforms’ have many of these themes in common when they describe their products.

Etherios provides “any-to-any” connectivity and extends that connectivity to corporate data stores through Salesforce.com integration.  Amdocs offers a “pre-packaged, pre-configured real-time, end-to-end solution” that allows service providers to quickly onboard and support partners offering M2M applications such as smart utility meters, connected electrical vehicles and connected wellness.  The solution supports multiple dynamic business models including converged, prepaid and postpaid, and it helps ease the complexity of the M2M value chain.  ThingWorx reduces the time, cost and risk required to build M2M and ‘Internet of Things’ applications, with a platform that provides a complete application design, runtime and intelligence environment.  Xively is a public cloud, with web-based developer resources, including standards-based services and tools (with official libraries for dozens of languages and platforms, including Objective C, C, Java, JavaScript and Ruby), elastic scalability and intuitive lifecycle management capabilities.

It all sounds so easy and so ‘evolved,’ begging the question: Are we there yet?

Panel discussions at the conference emphasized success in a number of verticals.  In the retail industry, for example, supermarkets are looking for a single user interface with which they can take a look at department-scale metrics to itemize the amount of meat and produce being sold on a per-store basis; they are also embracing M2M solutions for remotely monitoring freezer temperatures and controlling store lighting based on shopper preference.

Overall, while the use cases were a bit anecdotal, the evolution of application development platforms and the enthusiasm of vendors, operators and device manufacturers at the show provided attendees with a warm, fuzzy sense of cautious optimism.

What do you think?

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