Rise of the machines

With machine-to-machine (M2M) back in vogue, MWC has proved a focus for a string of M2M announcements.


February 18, 2010

3 Min Read
Rise of the machines
China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom agree on a new Machine-to-Machine venture

With machine-to-machine (M2M) back in vogue, MWC has proved a focus for a string of M2M announcements.

Ovum analyst Pauline Trotter reports that the GSMA has announced updates to its Embedded Mobile initiative, a programme aimed at vertical markets such as consumer electronics, healthcare, automotive and utilities. The association, together with 25 telcos and other M2M players, published a set of industry guidelines to reduce design complexity in what continues to be a hugely fragmented market. It also announced its own partnership with the Continua Health Alliance, an alliance of healthcare and technology organisations, to promote embedded mobile.

Vodafone announced that it will work with US partner Verizon Wireless and nPhase, a joint venture of Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm, in global M2M over mobile, with an emphasis on an international managed service across multiple countries. The nPhase platform, which integrates with the Vodafone M2M global service platform, will provide customers with management tools to give them a single view of their international M2M. It will also offer a single point of contact for provisioning devices that are connected to both operators’ networks. The plan is to provide a single invoice and a single point of contact for technical and other support.

In other M2M news, Trotter notes that KPN announced that Konica Minolta is using its M2M Corporate service, enabled by Jasper Wireless, to provide connectivity for CS Remote Care, a remote diagnostic system across 32 European countries. Deutsche Telekom is to set up a new M2M ‘International Competence Centre’ in Bonn. T-Mobile says it is making good progress with M2M deployments as part of its ‘Connected Work’ strategy in Germany, and the new centre will step up the pace of rollout. It provides M2M solutions to customers in nine different business sectors, but a particular interest at the moment seems to be in automotive, where it is working with both BMW and Continental.

And Telefonica announced its decision to invest in connected e-readers and stressed its commitment to encourage growth of connected devices for e-learning in the education sector.

Fellow Ovum analyst Tony Cripps reports that Nokia and Intel have launched MeeGo, with Qt as the keystone. “Nokia and Intel are merging their respective Linux initiatives to create a common software platform targeted at the broadest possible range of connected consumer electronics. However, the real win is in tying developers to the MeeGo platform,” Cripps said.

The MeeGo platform effectively combines Intel’s Moblin platform (aimed squarely at netbook devices) with Nokia’s cross-platform application environment, Qt, and the cellular integration work Nokia has done in Maemo.

But Cripps says that turning MeeGo into a mainstream platform for CE will be no mean achievement in its own right. However, it will ultimately be largely meaningless how many devices it is deployed on if the consistency provided by the underlying OS is not matched by its ability to provide a true multi-screen application platform for developers.

“For that to happen, several things need to occur. First, Nokia needs to prove that Qt development really can scale across different categories of device. Second, it needs to prove the benefits of that scalability to developers. Third, it needs to persuade developers that Qt is a better cross-platform, cross-device application and UX platform than alternatives such as Adobe Flash/AIR, Microsoft Silverlight and HTML5.

“Given that Qt’s erstwhile rivals are either already widely deployed or likely to become more so, and already have sizable developer communities, that may be a big ask. But the big prize is certainly worth aiming for,” Cripps said.

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