October 30, 2012
ITS World Congress in Vienna is over. A well organized high-profile event with ministers, a grand opening event and a grand ball. The large exhibition halls were full of technology and complex drawings, the seminar program extensive and ministers from all over the world attended. We have seen the movie before: there was full agreement among delegates, speakers and exhibitors also at the 19:th ITS World Congress that ITS is important to save the world, increase safety and security and improve efficiency for people, organizations and societies. A lot of things are happening in the field but still too many “one road here and one road there pilots”.
But there are three fairly new enablers in the ITS market that can make things happen big way:
- – the smartphones and pads allowing us to visualize complex things and deliver relevant real-time information for powerful decision-making
- – the Open Data initiatives carried out in Europe and elsewhere enabling developers to access enormous amounts of relevant data for innovative ITS solutions
- – the rapidly growing M2M market is feeding Service Enablers with data and together with the Open Data sources this enables faster and more cost efficient development and maintenance of applications.
We have what we need to start taking real advantage of ITS now. Decision makers need to be brave enough to make the right decisions: ensure a strategy for management of data, use of M2M, etc. then go from pilots to action, open up the data and let the entrepreneurs figure out what users want. This will help us realize the benefits of ITS in terms of efficiency, sustainability, security and convenience.
Leave a Comment » | ITS, M2M, M2M Service Enablers, Safety and Security, Transportation | Tagged: B3IT, convenience, ITS World Congress, M2M, Open Data, pads, PSI, security, smartphones, sustainability, Traffic, Transportation, Vienna | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
October 11, 2012
Services Enablement is the magic that turns generic communication into specific M2M applications and as such absolutely key to a positive development of M2M. In order to educate the market about the importance of Services Enablement and to promote Swedish Services Enablers I initiated Swedish M2M Services Enablers – SMSE – in March 2012. With the most recent additions we are now eight companies in the alliance.
The Mobile Future conference followed by Mobilgalan
award dinner is the key mobile industry event in Sweden since many years and includes the most prestigious mobile awards ceremony. Yesterday the organizers of the event, Mobil and Mobil Business, announced nominations to the Guldmobilen (Golden Mobile) awards 2012
. M2M was introduced as a new category for 2012 which underlines the importance of M2M to the mobile industry and progress in market penetration. Four of the five nominated companies in the M2M category are members of the SMSE alliance which clearly communicate the importance of Services Enablement for the M2M market to develop well. This is all very good news and a concrete evidence of progress. Please join me congratulating Maingate, Kombridge, Info24 and Springworks
for their nominations!
Leave a Comment » | M2M, M2M Service Enablers | Tagged: Awards, B3CC, B3IT, Guldmobilen, Info24, Internet of Things, IoT, Kombridge, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, Maingate, Mediaprovider, Mobil, Mobil Business, Mobil Future, Mobilgalan, Services Enablers, SMSE, Springworks | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
October 3, 2012
The magic between the generic communication services and the specific application providing desired value to the users business is what we call M2M Services Enablement. This component of a M2M solution is absolutely vital since it shortens time and effort to develop the solution and minimize the effort to maintain and further develop the solution. The more robust and complete the Services Enablers become, the more users will decide to use M2M solutions. Services can be applied in three different ways: communication providers can add it on top of the connectivity, owners of the connected things can run Services Enablement in-house and one can use an independent third-party.
From a pure technical point of view Services Enablement platforms are generic but the successful providers of these services will be very focused on a specific niche or industry. If we look at a straight forward consumer solution like sleep monitoring, there are several solutions available. But one day there will be a market leader and that solution will definitely include some kind of intelligence applied on the information gathered in the cloud. It could typically be world-class sleep experts who can look at your data and give advice or comparisons to relevant indexes. With such services available it will be difficult to sell a plain stand-alone sleep monitoring solution. What is done with the information collected will differ from industry to industry but the logic will still be the same: players in an industry will benefit from using the Services Enabler who can add most value to their business and they will most likely end up using the same one. Following this logic there will be a large number of Services Enablers each focused on a specific industry, application or niche. The marked development for Services Enablers seems likely to follow Geoffrey Moore’s theories about “crossing the chasm”. Targeting a specific pin in bowling alley is the way to cross the chasm. When on the other side, it’s possible to target another pin, using the first pin as reference.
I continue develop the Swedish M2M Service Enablers (SMSE) alliance and we just included two more companies: Springworks and Episcope. They both follow the logic above and focus on the Automotive industry and Process Industry respectively. I continue to believe that M2M Services Enablement will be a forte for Swedish start-ups.
1 Comment | Cloud computing, M2M, M2M Service Enablers | Tagged: apps, B3CC, B3IT, chasm, crossing the chasm, Episcope, Geoffrey Moore, Internet of Things, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, SMSE, Springworks, Swedish start-ups, Traffic | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
August 4, 2012
Single purpose M2M solutions have started to appear in the market. They are typically addressing one specific problem with a combination of hardware, software and communication. If the problem addressed is clear and considered big enough by many people and the solution works well then the willingness to pay should be possible to build a business around. Provided the solution uses the cloud to deliver the service from, then expanding the solution to include generic devices like smartphones, pads and PCs is an interesting next step at least to access the data but maybe to run the entire application on as well.
A good example is Coyote from France who claims over 1.7 million users of their speed camera alert system in Europe. The service is also available as an app for iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry and for Parrot. A Coyote device cost about 250€ including one year of service. A solution like this is also interesting for mobile operators since one agreement can sell hundreds of thousands subscriptions of the same type and each deal like this provides opportunities to add service enablement services on top of the connectivity.
The two key success factors of products like these are a high quality solution to a reasonable big problem and ease-of-use out of the box. Then people are willing to pay reasonably well for the service and word of mouth will work for marketing. Easy to buy and use solutions are also interesting in sales channels. It is quite likely that we will see many more single purpose M2M solutions onwards.
Leave a Comment » | Business Models, Cloud computing, Consumer market, M2M, M2M Service Enablers, User Interaction | Tagged: apps, B3CC, B3IT, Business model, Coyote, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, speed camera, Traffic, Transportation, usability | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
May 18, 2012
M2M solutions using Mobile operator’s networks are growing quite aggressively. According to Berg Insight we have some 110 Million M2M SIM cards active today. But even if this impressive growth continues we will never reach the connected society within my life time unless generic, cost efficient, easy to install and use alternatives comes to market. It is not primarily a matter of communication technology – it is a matter of connectivity together with services enablement making it cost efficient to develop applications. Such solutions will use fixed or mobile wan connections to connect to the Internet.
At May 16 I stumbled over the first potential solution to the “M2M for the rest of us” solution – Electric Imp. They just left stealth mode introducing a line of Imp cards that can be installed on any electronic device to put it online and control it. The cards connect to the Internet and a cloud based service using Wi-Fi. In their own words: “take the best implementation of hardware, firmware and cloud service, build them into a single mass-produced product, and apply them to any device in the world”. The word Imp is borrowed from Arpanet’s Interface Message Processor. Developer preview Imp cards and developer kits will be available this summer and Imp cards will retail for $25 when available in the market. Electric Imp claim they have invented a solution for configuring Imp devices for Wi-Fi networks in seconds using iOS or Android smartphones.
I find this exciting since it sounds like Electric Imp has what it takes: a generic, cost efficient, easy to install and use solution for connecting things to the Internet. As an evangelist and investor in the early Wi-Fi days I am also exited to see bets on Wi-Fi in the M2M field.
Electric Imp has a great idea, strong founders, capable investors and address a massive market opportunity. Their success will be determined by how fast they will get hardware vendors to adopt their platform and put Imp-slots in their devices.
Leave a Comment » | Cloud computing, Consumer market, M2M, M2M Service Enablers, Networks | Tagged: B3CC, B3IT, Electric Imp, Imp, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, SIM, smartphone, WiFi | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
May 3, 2012
An absolute requirement for M2M to really take off is a common architecture and a set of global standards. A robust common service layer is needed. The standardization organization ETSI started en effort to create such architecture and standard in January 2009 and has started to deliver. ETSI has released a multi-service layer enabling an easier and efficient access to the telecommunications network functionalities, designed to support a wide range of services over different underlying networks. It has to be noted that the work is IP only why issues like moving fax machines and other analog devices from PSTN to mobile networks isn’t covered.
According to Mr Enrico Scarrone, Chairman ETSI TC M2M, they try to build the standard on existing and available bits and pieces and focus on identifying gaps and fill them. At M2M Forum in Milan he presented also the oneM2M initiative which is a global partnership project aiming at removing the barriers for the Internet of Things created by local and industry related differences and approaches. We all know the power of 3GPP which strongly supported the developments of the third and fourth generations of cellular networks. Hopefully oneM2M will pave the way for a rapidly growing Internet of Things where data from different industries can be combined to create new innovative solutions and business models.
Leave a Comment » | M2M, M2M Service Enablers | Tagged: 3GPP, B3CC, CSD, Enrico Scarrone, ETSI, Internet of Things, M2M, M2M Forum, oneM2M, PSTN, Standards | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander
April 12, 2012
The mighty mobile industry is a major force behind M2M today. They have what it takes to connect things, they need to find growth beyond the six billion active SIM cards today and they are promoting the concept of M2M aggressively. But at the same time it is quite obvious that a lot of things will be connected without SIM card. We already have a lot of connected devices in the PSTN network, many electricity meters are connected using PLC or other wireless network technologies than the mobile networks and wireless technologies like W-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and RFID are already used in many applications. Different technologies have their strengths and weaknesses, new ones are coming to market while old ones are fading away. But the concepts of wide area and local area networks remain. Generally speaking it takes technologies optimized for LAN or WAN to build cost and capacity efficient networks. Sometimes even a shorter range network structure is needed like a Personal Area Network.I believe the mobile networks will be used for some connected devices, especially moving things or if one want to avoid dealing with Firewalls. But more so as the preferred WAN solution for things connected to a local area network solution. I have come across estimates that one out of ten connected devices will have a SIM card and I think that could be a reasonable estimate. If Ericsson’s “50 Billion connected devices by 2020” would be reality, 5 Billion of them would have a SIM card. That is a lot more SIM cards than the 108 Million mobile M2M SIM cards that Berg Insight estimate are active today world-wide. But what about the other 45 Billion connected devices? How will they be connected and managed and how will relevant data generated by these devices become easily available for application developers and integrators?
The most immediate challenge for the M2M industry is to establish a rich assortment of M2M services enablers in order to make development and maintenance of M2M application more resource and time efficient. M2M Service Enablers will have different features and specialities and they can be deployed in three different ways: on top of operator connectivity services, as in-house solutions or in independent service providers.
But another very interesting area to be addressed is how to connect devices in a local infrastructure in order to enable resource efficient development, maintenance and monitoring as well as a structured way to deal with relevant data. I use to refer to “Local M2M Gateways” and I have started to look for clever ideas and solutions in the market. I am convinced there is room for a whole range of different products optimized for different situations, still providing a quite standardized interface to M2M Services Enablers. In some cases we need to connect locally using only one technology and in other situations we need to support a mix of several technologies. Connecting sensors or things with sophisticated embedded systems put different requirements on the Local M2M Gateways. The choice of WAN-connection, with or without backup, is yet another area where we will need different solutions. And whichever solution we end up using, it has to be cost efficient, easy to deploy and maintain and robust. These will be important tools when helping organizations to design relevant M2M solutions to meet their challenges and opportunities.
3 Comments | M2M, M2M Service Enablers, Networks | Tagged: B3CC, Berg Insight, Bluetooth, Ericsson, Internet of Things, IoT, LAN, M2M, Machine-to-Machine, PAN, PSTN, Rfid, SIM, WAN, WiFi, ZigBee | Permalink
Posted by magnusmelander