M2M gives the Internet of Things a mainstream makeover

Philip Cole, sales director and co-founder,
Wireless Logic

As the hype transitions to commercial deployment, it seems the M2M industry is starting to fulfil the early potential by driving the kind of innovation that is set to make tangible impact on how we live our lives.

It’s a development underpinned by the diversification of a market that once focused solely on the corporate and business space and is now in the throes of a more consumerised makeover, the result of which is making the IoT space a more mainstream reality, says Philip Cole, sales director and co-founder, Wireless Logic.

Driven by the pre-eminence of the cloud, the proliferation of data analytics, the ubiquity of powerful mobile devices and compounded by the lower costs and greater availability of bandwidth, the M2M industry is now operating in a far more connected and device-rich landscape and the savviest operators are primed to exploit to the opportunity.

With a rising demand for automated and remote management, often in real time, the consumer thirst for the added value that the IoT presents is not in question, nor is the desire for the consumer to control the operation remotely without the hassle of self-assembly.

And with basic connectivity only accounting for a modest 10-20% of the overall revenue potential, it makes perfect sense to deepen and diversify the M2M offering to better harness the scope of the IoT as it explodes across many vertical markets.

Furthermore, by embracing value-added approaches, today’s M2M wireless operators can inspire greater customer loyalty by putting visibility and control mechanisms in the hands of their enterprise users, who in turn can leverage those mechanisms to create a personalised experience for their end-customers. As a result long term relationships with customers are developed and the end user churn reduced.

Arguably, the overall success of the IoT depends on the B2B2C segment and the rising requirement for data-driven application enablement platforms that can adapt easily to market needs. To flourish in this environment, therefore, demands ever greater agility and imagination from the M2M operator to help bring these increasingly inventive and sophisticated applications to fruition.

It’s an approach in evidence at the UK’s leading M2M Network managed service provider (aggregator) Wireless Logic, which is seeing the evolution of applications and ever greater connectivity challenges, a notable example being the vehicle tracking, one of the first adopters of M2M connectivity and still a mainstay of the market.

From its first incarnation as a simple tracking device to one that incorporates new features such as vehicle CCTV and diagnostic tools, the result see Wireless Logic work closer with the partner to manage the bumped up bandwidth requirement, such as building greater intelligence into the network and device so that it does not need to transmit such high levels of data. Furthermore, this provides real-time visibility of what it is doing and how much it is costing, an insight that even a mobile network operator is unable to offer.

Indeed, this ability to adapt and be flexible, increasingly permeates the entire M2M offering. It will necessitate a shift in mind set for operators who have traditionally viewed IoT as a solution for providers to monitor their products for their own benefits, rather than something that can translate into a high value proposition or product for a consumer with a valuable application – or, better still, a killer one. It also signals a shift from the dated perception of the role of M2M to be solely focused on connectivity to one that is more at the heart of innovation.

Areas that are particularly ripe for engagement include healthcare, automotive and the consumer electronics space. Indeed, with Smart Home technology, consumers are already starting to see the opportunities in action with applications that are signalling a new era of efficiency and convenience in their homes, from securing and monitoring their properties remotely to programming the lighting and temperature.

Therefore, there is still work to be done in convincing the target audience of the potential that exists with the IoT. Here, the onus falls on the operators to play their part in extolling the virtues of the technology and the added value it offers, showing the demonstrable benefits as opposed to being an expensive ‘nice to have’.

The author of this blog is Philip Cole, sales director and co-founder, Wireless Logic.

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