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M2M market to rocket, grow operator revenues

25 сентября 2009

Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will drive the next wave of mobile messaging, according to messaging solutions specialist Syniverse.

The industry has been sporadically naming M2M as the next big thing for some years, but so far the hype has not been realised.

However, Syniverse CEO Tony Holcombe believes that all the building blocks are now in place for the technology to take off, driven by products like Amazon's Kindle e-reader.

And what's more, he sees a strong revenue opportunity for mobile operators in this space.

"M2M, that's the next wave of messaging that's going to take place," Holcombe told Total Telecom earlier this week.

"[You will] see a lot of M2M... rolling out over the next couple of years," he added.

"The global network is almost totally in place," Holcombe said, referring to the network of roaming agreements required to facilitate effective M2M communications. And crucially, costs have come down dramatically, he added.

Various sources predict that three out of four SIM cards worldwide will be M2M in coming years, Holcombe said, noting that at today's subscriber levels, that would equate to a total of 8 billion-12 billion SIM cards in service.

Indeed, at Broadband World Forum this year, Ericsson's CEO-elect Hans Vestberg predicted that a rise in M2M, or "non-human connections, will lead to there being a massive 50 billion SIM cards in circulation by 2020.

However, there will be major challenges, for both mobile network operators and companies like Syniverse that provide messaging and roaming solutions for the operators.

"That's a lot more traffic," warned Holcombe, noting that Syniverse can provide operators with solutions that enable them to manage that increased traffic.

The rise of video and other bandwidth-hungry services over mobile means that operators will have to bulk up their networks anyway, he said.

"You have to find incremental ways to pay for that," and M2M is one of them, Holcombe said.

Crucially though, there is also money to be made from M2M.

"It's a revenue opportunity [for the operators]. That's incremental revenues for them. That's a value-added service for [their] enterprise [customers]," Holcombe said.

And, he noted, those M2M connections are significantly less costly to manage than human connections.

"A chip's not going to call customer service!" he said.

Holcombe predicts that e-readers like the Kindle, which uses mobile networks to download electronic newspapers and books - albeit without the direct knowledge of the user, since the connectivity is paid for by Amazon - will play a part in the M2M revolution.

"That's going to generate a lot of traffic," he said.

Sprint Nextel provides the network connectivity for the Kindle in the U.S. Amazon has yet to launch a version of the e-reader for the European market, since the U.S. version of the device runs on a CDMA network and a GSM-based solution has yet to be developed. Similar products in the U.K., for example, require the user to connect the device to their PC in order to download books.

However, in future e-readers will be available with embedded WCDMA or HSPA connectivity, and Holcombe believes it is just a matter of time before the devices become ubiquitous.

In five to 10 years, "everyone will be doing things like that... books will eventually go away," he said. "[Amazon] have got a huge home run on their hands."


Источник: Total Telecom

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