Dubbed by the organizers the “M2M Event of the year”, Telia’s 2013 M2M symposium gathered a wide range of companies that are part of the operator’s partner network: General Electric, Ericsson, Oracle, Qualcomm, Tech Mahindra, Tesla, just to name a few. The focus was on how M2M solutions can drive innovation and growth in different business sectors. In that respect, General Electrics’s keynote introduced the “Industrial Internet” concept and provided the boldest forecast. They envision that the combination of connected machines and advanced data analytics will have a similar impact on society, innovation and productivity as the Industrial Revolution and the later Internet Revolution.
From the perspective of mobile operators it was made clear again that partnerships are key in the M2M world, both with companies from vertical sectors but also with other mobile operators. With this occasion, Telia announced a new partnership with Japan’s Softbank, which is the latest addition to the Global M2M Association (GMA), that includes also Orange, T-Mobile, Bell Canada and Telecom Italia.
Looking at the exhibitors and also some of the presentations from the parallel sessions the role of MNOs and of the underlying communication that should support M2M was somewhat taken for granted. Sure, this is the case now, since the number of devices is quite far from the forecasted billions and today’s infrastructure is good enough. However, in the future we could see an imbalance between the capabilities of the platforms/applications and the capabilities of the networks. In this case, it would be up to MNOs to upgrade their networks, but what would be their incentive?
There were also different opinions about standardization. On one hand the need for standardization was highly emphasized, on the other hand some argued that if suitable solutions will arise from industry, they will be adopted. Some of the other messages where that more intelligence should be moved to the edges of the network, e.g. in gateways, remote management is a key requirement for any M2M application and also scalability is one of the main challenges.
Probably one of the most interesting “things” that communicate was the Tesla Model S. Tesla, one of Telia’s M2M partners stepped into the connected vehicle world, adding even more innovation to its already futuristic fully electric car. With an embedded SIM, the car will have always-on connectivity, even when roaming and also is able to connect to WiFi hotspots when parked. Thus, drivers benefit from different value added service and also the manufacturer can gather valuable data about the operation of the vehicle. However, one would say that when seeing and driving the Model S, being able to access the Internet is not the first thing that stands out.