In recent years, M2M has transformed from a bold futuristic vision into an enabler that has changed the way business is done in industries from utilities to security, transport to health care. Most companies who have integrated M2M into their business have done so for pure commercial reasons. M2M slashes costs, opens up new revenue opportunities, strengthens brand attractiveness and delivers benefits to the end-customers.
To maximise these benefits it is crucial that businesses take a step forward and demand a more democratic market that offers them greater choice and flexibility. A key factor in this power shift is the willingness to challenge whether the major incumbent players are equipped to meet your needs. There is no need and no time to wait for standardisation, the technological frameworks and infrastructure are already in place and independent service providers can make this happen for you today.
Let’s take a look at the example of cellular-based M2M connectivity. In the past couple of years, many mobile network operators (MNOs) have moved from mobile into M2M. The strategies they bring with them leave their customers locked into the technology associated with their chosen provider. The MNO owns and controls the SIM card, which is the key to the M2M connectivity. Changing the SIM card once it is installed is costly and often virtually impossible. The MNO is therefore in control of the communication to and from the equipment during its entire life span, and thereby also in total control of the commercial and technical aspects of the communication between the devices.
Ultimately, this set up leave the customer at a great disadvantage. The MNO has the power to dictate the terms of agreements and the quality of service. What happens if your MNO changes the network coverage or decides to close down the 2G network? Working in this way inhibits the flexibility necessary to find suitable solutions to new challenges or to address emerging opportunities. Hence, you and your business are locked-in with the MNO, with no option but to accept the terms that have been outlined.
Why challenging the status quo, encouraging innovation and breaking market restrictions is fundamental to Maingate’s approach and ambitions?
It is these principles that led to the development of our latest value adding service, Maingate Connect Flex. The Connect Flex service is a market-led development that tackles this issue of vendor ‘lock in’. With this service businesses will be able to be in control of the complete life cycle of their connected assets and products. The service allows businesses to remotely change MNOs over-the air, without replacing the physical cards. We will also handle any change of provider, to ensure that no connection or data is lost during the transition. In addition, Connect Flex allows SIM cards to be fitted into energy hardware at the point of manufacture, which significantly reduces engineering costs. Businesses are then free to choose the right provider for their needs at the point of installation depending on coverage requirements and the best provider in each location.
In order to deliver on the promise of M2M and realise the full potential of the connected enterprise, a shift of power must occur. It is up to you as a customer to plan ahead and demand such products from your vendor.