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January 21, 2015

Global Companies Begin to Embrace M2M Technology

By TMCnet Special Guest
Mobeen Khan, executive director of Industrial Internet of Things Solutions at AT&T Mobility

Mobile World Congress 2015 is just a couple of months away. I remember I left the conference last year thinking about the dynamic role mobility, and especially the Internet of Things, continues to play for companies all over the world. Now here we are, almost a year later, and I am excited to see the myriad ways companies are using mobile technology.

Now more than ever before, businesses depend on mobile technology to help them work smarter, not harder. Business professionals traveling to different parts of the globe stay tethered to their offices thanks to smartphones and tablets. Increasingly more companies opt to hold virtual meetings rather than sending multiple people to one location. Mobile workers get their work orders every morning through mobile solutions, and track and control their remote assets and machines deployed in various locations worldwide. 

IoT solutions combine many elements such as devices, networks, platforms, and applications. Many global manufacturers want to build M2M connectivity into their products so they can monitor, control, and analyze performance of their assets. However, managing hundreds or thousands of these IoT devices and associated solutions globally is a complicated task. In order to monitor these assets, each device must be equipped with a globally enabled subscriber identity module. The embedded SIM stores and transfers the data so that companies can examine the location, performance, and usage of their machines.

I have the privilege of managing the Industrial IoT product portfolio for AT&T, a global leader in developing and deploying these solutions. AT&T offers a single global SIM that provides expansive global coverage through AT&T’s extensive roaming relationships with global carriers. With the Global SIM, manufacturers need only work with AT&T, instead of multiple regional wireless carriers, making the task of launching, managing, and rapidly scaling deployments in most parts of the world achievable with minimal effort.

Many global companies are discovering the advantages of IoT connectivity to enhance their business operations. For example, it’s becoming the norm for utilities to embed wireless connectivity into their smart meters to monitor usage, and to monitor the electricity grid to isolate issues. Companies that move goods through air, sea, and land now have the ability to gain insight in real time into the location and condition of their assets while in transit, whether those assets are bananas to be shipped at a certain temperature, artwork that cannot take mishandling, tissue samples that cannot be exposed to light, or pharmaceuticals that cannot take humid conditions. Companies adopting these IoT solutions are gaining competitive advantage in their space and providing unparalleled customer service to their respective customer base.

Over the past decade, developers in the IoT space have had to pull together many disparate components to build solutions. Many companies, including AT&T, are making investments in platforms and in developing packaged solutions, so enterprise customers can rollout IoT solutions faster and at more cost effective price points. Standards development is also under way to make the task of building an IoT solution easier. As innovators continue to enhance these solutions, more companies will continue to embrace IoT on a global scale, and introduce new solutions in new verticals like automobiles, energy, heavy equipment, retail, and utilities.

We have come far in a year, but most of the innovation is yet to come in IoT.  As we continue to push toward a more connected planet in 2015 and beyond, the possibilities—and the connections—seem endless. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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