Friday, June 18, 2010

M2M - Growth Opportunities for MNOs in Developed Markets

The new M2M analyst report that I just finished has now been uploaded and is available on the Maximizing Wireless Profits website.  M2M, machine-to-machine communications, is a very intriguing market.  It is closely related to enterprise mobility in that mobile devices (embedded mobile devices, remote sensors and monitors) are collecting and sending data back to a central server. The audiences for this report are mobile network operators (MNOs), M2M and mobile enterprise software companies.

Handset driven customer growth has reached the saturation point in many regions of the world and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are looking for new applications, new markets and new technologies for their next phase of growth. Machine to machine (M2M) devices and applications are an area of wireless data usage with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 25% per year through 2014 and a projected need for up to 50 billion M2M devices by 2025. In addition, low churn rates, low acquisition and operational costs, expected long product lifecycles, and a market that needs many additional value added services makes this a compelling market opportunity for many MNOs.

Why is the M2M market interesting for enterprises?  Nearly all high value assets and equipment that are remote or mobile could benefit from having an embedded mobile device in sensors and monitors that provide information wirelessly back to the asset management and tracking system at the office.  Pressure gauges, measurements, volumes, temperatures, operating hours, mileage, etc., can all be collected and wirelessly sent to the central management system. 

When a piece of remote equipment begins having problems, an alert can be wirelessly sent to the asset management and work order management system so repairs can be scheduled.  Maintenance schedules can also be set based upon data collected by remote monitors.

Embedded mobile devices can also be implemented to both send and receive data.  Some M2M systems provide the capability for instructions to be sent to remote monitors that will change settings on equipment.  I have read about large trucks having their engines adjusted remotely to improve performance or fuel mileage.

I believe that mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAPs) may expand to support M2M data integration that will be used by enterprise asset management systems and service optimization solutions like SAP's mobility partner ClickSoftware at some point.  The data, whether coming from a smartphone or a remote sensor, looks the same to the platform.  It is just data coming in wirelessly to the system.

There are some very interesting M2M companies like Enfora that are offering a wide range of specialized M2M devices, services and systems.  Enfora is a provider of wireless networking solutions that enable enterprises to access, analyze and leverage information from their geographically dispersed assets.  It is interesting to read about how their solutions are being implemented and the ROIs their customers are experiencing.

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile & M2M Industry Analyst
CEO/Principal Consultant, Netcentric Strategies LLC
***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.