http://digitalresearch.eiu.com/m2m/report/section/m2m-drivers-for-the-next-decade http://innovationcenter.deteconusa.com/trends/m2m-challenges-and-strategic-options/ M2M: Challenges and Strategic Options Posted on August 14, 2013 by deteconinnovation In today’s digital era, mobile devices and connected machines are more prevalent than ever before. The machine-to-machine (M2M) market has already received much attention in the past and is indeed a rapidly growing part of the global economy with enormous potential. M2M is characterized by the broad range of possible applications across various industries. Improvements in productivity, efficiency, and security are only some of the potential benefits of the use of M2M technology. Rolls Royce for instance achieved improved operational efficiency and safety through collecting real-time data from their jet engines that are equipped with satellite-based M2M to enable remote diagnostics and better maintenance scheduling. Nonetheless, up to this point some industries still struggle to effectively exploit the numerous possibilities of M2M technology that are out there. Thus, the question arises: what are some of the current challenges that hamper a smooth adoption of M2M applications? Even more importantly, what are strategic options that carriers can pursue in order to position themselves and to seize some of the rising business opportunities? The challenges in M2M adoption that the market is confronted consist of multifaceted barriers that span across various areas. First, the existing value chain is highly complex and fragmented. The great number of industries actively taking part in M2M. The competitive nature of the players involved makes it difficult to agree on standardized interfaces as well as in the development of the required partnership agreements. Both of these are key success factors when it comes to covering as many parts of the M2M value chain as possible. Additionally, the fact that players mostly refuse to share information between each other constitutes one of the biggest barriers when forming partnerships. Second, the solutions that are currently being offered lack scalability and modularity and hence require a high level of customization. The direct result is low profitability of existing M2M business models and only a limited number of flexible pricing models. This causes existing solutions to be very industry specific as vertical depth is needed to provide value-added offerings. Third, technology maturity has not reached to a level at which standards, networks and architectures are fully aligned for best interoperability, acting as a barrier to the international roaming agreements that will shape M2M’s future. Custom devices that are being used for individual applications are making standardization an increasingly difficult task. All this makes the aggregation and processing of collected data a labor-intensive activity which buries many of the benefits of M2M. Although there are considerable challenges there are also key opportunities that may clear the way for M2M’s mass adoption across industries. Some of the drivers of M2M are declining module prices, ubiquitous network access and advanced use of big data. While more expensive solutions, which are based on 3G and LTE are being introduced, the overall trend is still heading towards declining module prices. This is owed not only to an increase in volumes but also to falling hardware costs as memory, processor and sensor prices drop – a trend expected to continue over the upcoming years. Another integral part of the deployment of M2M is ubiquitous network access. Seamless connectivity and network coverage are being constantly improved through advancements in wireless technologies and the increasing ease of adding radio access network technology to devices. Moreover, falling costs of mobile data and increased bandwidth are furthering M2M adoption. Viewed from a different perspective, improved connectivity will also enhance the use of big data by making data available in real time. The increasing number of connected devices and the rise of cloud services also driving the total amount of structured data being available. This makes it easier to provide even more valuable insights on raw data sets by using big data analytics and business intelligence technologies. The overall maturing ecosystem will not only drive M2M adoption in the near future but also attract more and more carriers who strive to extend their current business offering. New business opportunities in M2M are giving carriers an avenue to provide new services to their customers and to create new streams of revenue. Even without taking consumer electronics into account, which is one of the biggest areas of growth for M2M applications, a recent study my Machina Research forecasts that the M2M market will grow to $740 million dollars by the year 2022. However, the question remains how carriers can position themselves in order to successfully participate in the market. The M2M business requires a very different approach by carriers towards customers due to the characteristics of the market and the highly technical offering (e.g. Number of SIMs, bandwidth, and roaming). Moreover, the industry’s fragmented value chain immediately suggests that carriers should take a shot at expanding beyond their basic connectivity offerings as industry roles have yet to be set in stone. There are various scenarios in which carriers can pursue an expansion along the value chain. One possibility could be to provide device and application platforms. The direct effect would be a shorter time to market for their customers and an increase in their own average revenue per user. Another possibility that comes along with even higher margins can be pursued by leveraging their connectivity footprint for highly customized end-to-end solution. Such end-to-end solutions can range from basic business intelligence services up to IT services that include both, managed and professional services. Although it might seem possible for carriers to build their own platforms they should also consider the possibility of partnering as it gives them the opportunity to easily cover a wide range of vertical and horizontal solutions. A crucial part of carriers’ initiatives will be the time it takes them to build a strong M2M ecosystem and thereby set the basis for future growth. To grab hold of a growing opportunity, carriers must assess their capabilities in or order to find their position within the M2M value chain.
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Cellular network coverage is expanding worldwide As digital cellular coverage has expanded, there has been a corresponding shift away from satellite connectivity towards terrestrial cellular connectivity. Cost Savings The recovery of one misplaced diesel generator, for example, can cover the installation and running costs of a tracking deployment Enabling new business model E nhance business operations, improve functionality and environmental stewardship, and to connect the business with its end users Legislation and regulatory compliance Various governments and regulatory bodies around the world are enacting regulations that mandate functionality of the type enabled by cellular M2M. Speed and flexibility Built-in diagnostics can schedule minor servicing to be done on an ad hoc basis and major servicing only when it’s necessary. It can also record a full audit trail of defects, usage, maintenance activities. Health and safety Environmental stewardship Expect a focus on consumer electronics – Sprint sees this as a major growth opportunity.