MTN unit to focus on telemetry

Estimated there will be 50-billion connected devices by 2020 with just 8,5-billion people, more growth expected in the machine-to-machine telemetry area

MTN Business, a unit of MTN Group, was targeting new revenue streams from machine-to-machine (M2M) communications as the market continued its growth trajectory, the company said yesterday.

M2M is the remote wireless data interchange that takes place between devices such as navigation systems, meters and alarms.

Mobile companies are focusing on data as an area of growth because of slowing voice revenues.

According to MTN, research firm Jupiter Research found that revenue growth in the international M2M market would quadruple to $40,8bn by the end of this year.

This strong growth is attributable to businesses realising the operational benefits and efficiency savings of real-time data monitoring.

Nomalanga Nkosi, GM for business marketing at MTN Business, said yesterday that M2M would be a key component in the future growth of the mobile industry and Africa.

She said telemetry, or M2M, remote monitoring and controlling had been popularised since GSM (global system for mobile communications) and GPRS (general packet radio service) mobile technology had been used to link remotely located or moving devices using the expansiveness of the network, particularly in rural locations.

Ms Nkosi said:

“From remote medical diagnostics, to smart automated meters that ‘read’ themselves, to transport tracking solutions that improve route optimisation — the possibilities for industries in terms of growth, productivity and collaboration and connectedness is limitless.”

As M2M solutions become more proficient, MTN Business will continue to offer a wide variety of M2M and telemetry packages to address the needs of specialised customers.

Vodacom, which said in its latest annual report that it had 694000 M2M devices on its network, this year launched M2M SIM cards.

The cards can be used in a variety of applications such as monitoring and control, fleet and asset management, security and surveillance, and metering. The company said in its annual report it was partnering with business customers to find opportunities for M2M connections.

The M2M market is growing strongly in SA as well as internationally, as it allows companies to cut costs, improve service delivery and provide managed services,” the company said.

It is estimated that there will be 50-billion connected devices by 2020 versus just 8,5-billion people, which clearly indicates the potential M2M has to generate a tremendous amount of data traffic, Ms Nkosi said. “How we manage that traffic to innovate and positively impact the well-being of Africa will be a defining moment.

Analysts have said that network providers would have to find ways to handle signalling traffic as M2M communications increase. Vodacom said through M2M connections, its business customers could improve their efficiency and cut CO² emissions.

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