Moving from millions to billions

Jahangir Mohammed
07 Nov 2007
00:00

Everywhere around you, machines are talking. In fact, over 110 million machines talk to one another today without human intervention. It's an impressive number, but most analysts predict that within the next 10 years, there will be more connected machines than the six billion people walking the planet today.

On the business front, over $32 billion was spent on machine-to- machine (M2M) service just last year according to Harbor Research, while growth in the cellular M2M service provider market is expected to quadruple, growing at 27% worldwide, and reach $8 billion by 2012, according to ABI Research.

The wonder of machines talking is often captured by spectacular, but not always practical, sci-fi examples. Here, refrigerators automatically order milk for you before the last drop hits your cereal bowl. Security clearance chips embedded under your skin prove your identity. Sure, they're provocative examples, but they also are the ones most unlikely to become a mass market reality in the next few years.

The millions of machines talking today can be found in less glamorous, but far more useful, applications "”navigation devices that provide real-time traffic updates, security systems that can't be compromised with a few wire snips, instant insight into the location of your children, pay-as-you-drive auto insurance, elimination of credit card theft with pay-at-the-table solutions, automatic alerts provided to emergency medical staff when you've been in an accident "” the list goes on and on.

The amazing thing is that applications like these are just the tip of the iceberg. And this week at DEMOfall 07 in San Diego, we launched our company - Jasper Wireless - to accelerate the pace at which the world can move from millions to billions of connected machines.

The bottom line is this: To reach billions of connected machines, it takes more than just cellular communications. Manufacturers need to connect more machines across country lines profitably, and they need to be able to monitor and manage those remote assets. The good news is that it is already happening today. Here are just a few of the ways:

For one very large global transportation company with on-board computers in 40,000 trucks throughout Europe, crossing country boundaries is an everyday business reality. Instead of working with 13 different mobile operators to get local coverage rates, the company uses a single global SIM and a centralized control center to keep track of the conditions of their fleet.

Today, auto dealers, financing companies, insurance companies, and others can install a device in a car at the time of sale to remotely control the engine starter. This prevents a car from starting when the owner misses a payment.

When customers purchase dash navigation devices in a store, they are assured the devices will work directly out of the box.

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