AT&T's next-gen M2M services

Jessica Scarpati
23 Mar 2011

The exponential growth of mobile devices and all the traffic they're expected to generate -- 3.6 exabytes per month by 2014, according to the latest projections from Cisco Systems -- is enough to make telecom engineers want to hide under their desks. But this massive growth also presents an opportunity, particularly for M2M services, which offer a recurring revenue stream at a fraction of the bandwidth required for smartphones.

Like all things in today's telecom market, carriers will have to supply more than network access for M2M communications. Business customers will look to carriers for advanced M2M applications and managed services.

Eric Krauss, director of M2M product management in AT&T's Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions group, recently spoke with about how the nation's top wireless carrier is revamping its overall M2M strategy and partnering with other M2M players -- Axeda, ILS Technology, SensorLogic and Sierra Wireless -- to seize the enterprise M2M market. The M2M market isn't that young. Why is it getting so hot right now?

Krauss: There are a number of reasons. One is the carriers -- our distribution approach. Let's just think back to five years ago. We didn't have a lot of internal experts in M2M. I had my team building these capabilities and supporting our customers, but largely our go-to-market [strategy] was selling services to firms that were building products and developing their own sales forces to approach the market.

One of the classic solutions is fleet management. There are lots of companies that are in the fleet management market, and their approach was, "I don't need very much from you, AT&T. I've got my own people and they're developing applications … so all we need from you is network access and a really good platform to manage that."

What's been happening as of late and over the last couple years is [that] more companies [want more than just access]. The stimulus is really the reduction of price in the hardware to deploy M2M solutions. And frankly, it's some of the things we've been doing to bring more capabilities to our customers, so we're repackaging the approach and eliminating the barriers to customer adoption so that we can actually leverage our sales force.

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