Last week I was privileged to be invited to deliver the opening keynote at “M2M World”, a major conference in London bringing together a diverse range of players involved in the fast developing M2M (Machine to Machine) space.
I shared with the audience some insights we have gained in the course of serving the evolving needs of our customers and shared some thoughts on how network operators can help customers take full advantage of the huge potential this technology offers.
For my theme I chose to address what AT&T sees as the next phase of business transformation – the hyper-connected world, where all things, all machines are connected. I kicked off the presentation with a great video that brings to life some of the great applications where M2M can bring some real value. Check out the video for yourself.
It is an area where AT&T is very active, rolling out M2M projects here in Europe and around the world. In fact with over 14 million connected devices across our network we have gained some real insights to what can work in this market.
Devices gain in benefit when we connect them. Right now we have over 300 M2M devices performing tasks like
- Reading power meters
- Assisting in vehicle maintenance
- Sending warning notifications
- Monitoring and Maintaining the flow in pipelines
- Voice-based monitoring
- Facilitating vending machines
These are just the beginning of the possibilities.
I believe that M2M has reached a critical point in its development, where some of the challenges regarded as insurmountable, say ten years ago, have been met in terms of design and accessibility. And the potential market is huge. By 2015 Current Analysis predicts that there will be approximately 250-300 million global M2M connections.
I tried to put this into context for the audience by outlining the challenges and macro trends faced both by our customers and by operators.
Businesses are looking for better communications and solutions that deliver value and productivity, particularly in this difficult economic environment. Businesses can no longer rely on the return of employment levels to restore economic growth. Also, ongoing, tough economic conditions mean businesses must find new ways to stay productive and competitive.
At the same time, we are seeing the impact of three major technology shifts on businesses; Mobilization, Globalization, Virtualization.
These factors are converging to create new challenges and opportunities. I believe that in this context, next generation technologies such as M2M are coming of age.
Indeed our goal is to help drive wireless capabilities for businesses into a wide variety of devices beyond traditional handsets. Smaller, better designed wireless components have opened a wider market and led to a data renaissance, what has been called the “democratisation” of the technology, where communications is coming together with inherent wireless capabilities across a wide variety of devices.
And so today, we are seeing the Internet of Things Come Alive. In this environment, we see the emergence of the real-time adaptive enterprise, where anything that can be monitored or tracked in a process that is automatic and in real time with M2M technology
So what does this mean for our industry? What should we be thinking about for our customers as we prepare for 2012? Here are five considerations about M2M:
- There is a lot of excitement in the industry, and rightly so, about M2M. I believe that the key question to ask on behalf of our customers is “how can M2M help me enhance my business and my service?” And “what does the value of connectivity bring to my customers’ business?”
- Value lies where it drives cost out of the business process, cuts cycle time and improves the customer experience. Network operators and other participants in the M2M ecosystem must deliver intelligent networks that capture this value and act as a catalyst for business transformation.
- M2M is not an end in itself. We must ensure that it is connected to the services and solutions that enable our customers make the choices they need to be successful, interconnecting with high-speed broadband networks and cloud computing services for an end-to-end service.
- M2M is not a stand alone technology. It is an integral part of the intelligent networks that form a platform for business transformation. The overall process where a hyper-connected world is connected and integrated with back-end and mission-critical applications and resources bringing intelligence to every line of business and enabling a process of creating value in a shifting economic landscape.
- M2M is the basis of an ecosystem that is evolving to a hyper-connected world. M2M is changing the way business gets done letting machines help people live better lives.
The intelligent network combined with embedded M2M technology is a powerful contributor to help companies become more productive and serve as a catalyst for business transformation. It forms the basis of a new ecosystem that is evolving to a hyper-connected world.