Walking in the customer’s shoes

This post was published on M2M Daily February 23, 2012: http://www.m2mdaily.com/m2m-editorials/walking-in-the-customers-shoes/Mobile
M2M is back again with more support than ever. One difference from the last attempt is that now the M2M market is quantified back and forth. Another difference is that we have a huge amount of smart meters rolled out or in the process to be.

In the rear we have Ericsson’s 50 billion devices thunder roaring. And closer to the market we have analysts looking down the different verticals and mobile operators working to position themselves well now when the race is about to begin. Media sings the M2M song loud and clear and many M2M conferences, newsletters, blogs and web sites are in place, which wasn’t the case either back then, ten years ago.

I believe it is time for mobile M2M now and base my view on three things:

1) it is a great idea – connecting things and putting computing on top can help us sort out a lot of challenges

2) we have what it takes to get going – technology, services and know-how is in place and affordable now

3) we can’t do without it – efficiency, safety and sustainability are the three key promises of M2M and these issues are on the serious agenda in all countries and organizations around the world

We are still missing things like a solid standardized service layer to make application development for the very complex and fragmented market more efficient and scalable but even without that, we have what it takes to get going today.

But even if everything looks fine I see a potential risk to the M2M project. The messages come very much inside out, from the industry to the market. Still we know that nothing happens until people understand what technology will do for them and their business. Some organizations have used mobile M2M to resolve issues despite the complexity and cost involved and I must assume the reason for that has been that they saw obvious and big benefits thus an attractive ROI. But in most cases this is not obvious and that is something we in the industry have to resolve by more interaction with potential clients directly and through extensive partnerships. More outside in. When we look at our selves we know that most of the maybe 100M M2M SIM-cards activated today are used in electricity meters pushed by politicians and in eReaders and other “big phones”. We have to work harder and smarter to address the more complex and fragmented “real” M2M market where ROI is king and the potential is enormous.

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