M2M communications is once again a hot topic for mobile network operators, who have returned to this application area with refreshed strategies and increased appetites.
The increased interest in M2M has two origins: first, many operators are positioning themselves to provide infrastructure, connectivity, and service as enterprises seek to connect their major assets to their networks. M2M in a B2B environment is all about asset optimization and process efficiency.
A classic example is smart metering, which has been sparked in part by regulation. But we also see opportunities in vending/point-of-sale and logistics.
Second, and potentially an order of magnitude more important, is the network-enablement of an increasing number of consumer devices. Consumer electronics companies expect their products to be always connected, and therefore are increasingly interested in M2M. This raises the possibility of major customer deals, some of which will be global in scale.
The launch of eReaders such as the Kindle has provided a new impetus for M2M. While not all operators see the value in such a deal, and believe a more telco-advantageous revenue model is needed, they recognize that it is a major opportunity in terms of numbers of connected devices.
And to top it off new delivery and commercial models are emerging (including the use of a partner, such as Jasper Wireless, for its M2M service delivery platform). Such developments make M2M services simpler for operators to build and faster to launch, as well as less risky for potential customers.