Nothing fluffy about M2M in the cloud

Over the last few months I’ve read several articles which addressed the subject of M2M in the cloud. However, while touching on the benefits of this approach, they couldn’t help getting tied up with ‘how it all works’. While understanding the technology behind M2M in the cloud is important, if you’ve been considering using a Cloud-based M2M platform then having a clear picture of the practical benefits you should be realising is in fact the first step.

Talk to anyone about Cloud-based solutions and they’ll cite cost savings as one of the top advantages. This holds true for M2M in the Cloud. Where do these cost savings come from? Reduced CAPEX on infrastructure, reduced maintenance and faster time to market for your new device or service are some of the primary cost saving areas.

Less obvious perhaps is the fact that utilising M2M in the Cloud enables customers to more easily leverage legacy investments while at the same time rolling out new ones. Customers expect services to mirror the constantly evolving smartphone realm, by harnessing Cloud technology enterprises can ensure they offer easily upgradeable systems.

For example, a telematics device manufacturer wishing to expand from asset tracking to infotainment services can harness Cloud technology to roll-out new services but also upgrade existing offerings with relative ease.

For Device Manufacturers
Cost savings are just part of the equation. If you’re a device manufacturer then you should be looking for a global platform. The term ‘In the Cloud’ often gives the impression that services are available worldwide but this is not always the case. An M2M Cloud-based platform should be accompanied by a global network of partners so that you can roll out and expand into new markets with the ease that comes with standardisation.

Customers demand that services can be provisioned both at home and abroad but it is easy to underestimate the nuances associated with creating a global service. By partnering with Connected Device platform providers, OEMs can equip themselves with a flexible business model that takes into account the unique usage profile of devices, harnessing the Cloud to access and manage data no matter what country the device is present.

You should expect a suite of developer tools (a developer kit) and a real-time testing environment to help you develop and deliver the high quality products demanded by the enterprise and consumer markets.

The platform should also help you to provide a zero-touch experience that enables your customer’s device to work right out of the box, without having to waste time and effort on activations. To top it off, it’s vital that you are provided with the diagnostic tools to quickly identify and troubleshoot any issues in order to maximise device uptime.

For Operators
As an operator you should expect zero upfront CAPEX investment with a Cloud-based M2M platform, a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and a complete roll-out schedule of no more than three months. Ensure that you choose a platform that offers your customers an end-to-end, enterprise grade solution that enables them to design, deploy, and manage their connected devices on your network.

Most importantly, the platform must help you to meet the diverse needs of customers in traditional M2M businesses such as fleet management, ATM and asset monitoring and the rapidly growing web-enabled consumer electronics market including eReaders, person or pet tracking devices and personal medical devices.

Conclusion
Enterprises IT vendors and telco companies are waking up to the benefits of cloud computing and the M2M ecosystem cannot afford to be left behind. As the market continues to rapidly evolve, harnessing the Cloud will ensure a device is equipped with the latest innovations and services and, as a result, never become out of date. Working with a Connected Device platform provider enables operators and OEMs to eliminate the business complexity associated with monitoring and servicing new devices in real-time, ensuring OEM devices are equipped with the intelligence, provisioning and support necessary to service customers.

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