M2M: Do the Numbers Matter?

By Carl Ford February 06, 2013

At the M2M Evolution Conference last week, I had the benefit of being around five analysts all of whom I respect and trust. However, none of them could agree on what M2M actually is, so the numbers rapidly became irrelevant.

Robin Duke-Wooley, looks at the Internet of Things (IOT) as being the consumer side of the business of M2M.

In meeting with the advisory board of the new M2M Evolution Magazine, we got on the subject of whether a router could be considered an M2M device if we did not know what it was connecting.

James Brehm shared a chart that had the word ‘huge’ in the right hand upper corner, and certainly that is what M2M is heading towards. However, the real issue is not how big the market is, but where the knowledge is to create those markets. 

M2M is a loose term meaning any machines connecting in a number of different ways.   And what is clear is that no one market is going to dominate; in fact, most will cross pollinate. However, sometimes these markets will be cross elastic as well.

The carriers are catching on to this diversity because they are making Tariff 12 (read discount) services for all these M2M solutions. Having paid for the equivalent of a five mile T1, I was amazed to hear that there are reasonable data transport prices; however, it’s not clear that they know what to do about video. 

Video is a pricing headache and it’s pretty amazing that we are willing to pay for anything these days when you consider that so much of video is priced at $0.

Video surveillance at the home is bundled with other services. In the office it’s a onetime charge for installation. For the municipals, it’s a combination depending on maintenance and networks.

On the network side, I am convinced that we are about to see the ‘going get tough’ between the carriers and the large computing companies that offer professional services. When IBM sold off its network solutions group back in the 90s, it looked like a retreat. Now it looks brilliant as over the top services continue to show that the Internet delivers best effort better than carriers can deliver QoS. 

So the question of what is M2M and what is IOT seems less important than who will actually take advantage of the market.

Last week in Miami, at the Battle of the Platforms event, we saw Digi and Omnilink win best overall. I am sure we are going to see this competition heat up now that the likes of GE have joined the party.

Why did GE get in the game? Haven’t you heard? The market is huge!

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

Partner, Crossfire Media

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