2016 may still be in its infancy, but the M2M/IoT industry’s transition from hype to a more mainstream reality is gathering pace, buoyed by an increasingly consumer-driven and 4G-enabled environment.
And with Gartner’s forecast of some 5.5 million devices to be connected daily in the next 12 months, the savviest M2M managed service providers are set to capitalise by seizing new application opportunities which in turn puts the sector at the very heart of IoT innovation. It’s the reason why at Wireless Logic, our immediate focus centres on driving added value services without compromising our core bread and butter connectivity offering. While today’s customer may want a more integrated service beyond basic connectivity, this is matched by an expectation for resilient, water tight systems that can meet the complex, high bandwidth and business critical applications demands and ensure a stellar signal strength.
customers now expect 5 bar signal strength at all times
In fact, this cannot be overstated; in our experience, if a customer only gets one bar of signal strength from an operator, they will feel particularly short-changed. They now expect five bars, a demand that significantly intensifies as we deliver to over two million connections, while meeting the four-fold rise in the average subscribers data consumption.
This is critical bedrock, and one, that in my opinion, any network operator worth their salt will build on through a more integrated offering, particularly extra services which can address any connectivity gaps. Indeed, for the many companies who find the extra cost and complexity of developing, deploying and operating cellular M2M applications prohibitive, outsourcing this function to an added value service provider becomes an attractive option.
Indeed, providing stand alone platforms such as our own infrastructure as- a- service proposition, Net Pro, enables the customer to manage their M2M activity in a cost effective and accessible way and leverage the scope and flexibility that comes from access to multiple bearer services and a choice of over 30 mobile network operators.
And with 82% of our customer base going down this route in one month alone, it reflects the growing appetite for access to a technology platform and level of infrastructure that facilitates a fast route to market as an off the shelf, affordable platform.
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It’s evidence of the more affordable accessibility required if M2M technology is to diversify into the IoT consumer-driven arena and properly branch out from what has traditionally been an exclusively enterprise domain. Perhaps, not surprisingly the self-driven market will be key to a more mainstream push. Only when we see devices directly available through retail outlets, equipped with a SIM card which the customer can activate online with a QR code ready to sign up to contract there and then will we be free of the delays and barriers that prove to be prohibitive to a more mainstream take up.
Of course, some examples are already filtering through. M2M technology will be driving the proliferation of cameras embedded in commercial vehicles showing real-time video, a proposition set to explode in the commercial fleet management.
User-based insurance is the stand out case, which despite still being at a formative stage in its development as already proven its worth in the value of that data collated and ability to drive a more equitable and transparent approach to how insurance premium is calculated. Parking is also set to get a smart makeover, consigning tickets and barriers to the past as automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and smart payment terminals system record your car registration number when you enter and exit the car park.
As the market heads towards this space, the M2M network operator is poised to meet the greater challenges beyond the more straightforward demands of routing data from one machine to another to potentially routing from multiple machines to the consumer tablet, which I believe will prove to be an increasingly vital cog in the IoT eco system.