Power, automotive industries to drive M2M – Telefonica

Operator’s M2M chief sees M2M take-up growing 25% per year; details strategy for making services accessible to consumers.

Telefonica said this week it expects the power and automotive industries to be the driving force behind machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

We actively exploring both of these sectors [power and automotive] and are engaged in a series of conversations, both within and external to the U.K.,” Gilli Coston, head of M2M at Telefonica, told Total Telecom on Wednesday.

She said there are myriad uses for M2M communications in these industries, from operating traffic lights to monitoring power consumption, all of which the operator intends to manage via platforms it is developing in partnership with Jasper Wireless.

“Power is currently going through a massive transformation through agendas such as the smart energy initiatives that the government is supporting. Automotive is similarly changing through ECall (automatic emergency calls placed in the event of a road accident) and also through the increasing adoption of technology by the motor manufacturers.”

Interest in M2M will continue to grow in the coming years, she added.

We are clearly living in a digital age and there are macro trends towards ‘always on’ connectivity [across multiple devices], smart habitat and immediacy,” Coston said.

She predicted that by 2020, 25% of the U.K. population will work from home more than once a week, pushing the need for “hyper connectedness”.

Furthermore, teenagers’ desire to be constantly connected is also likely to drive the uptake of interconnected devices, she mentioned, claiming that “47% of teens who watch TV also like to talk with their friends online via email or IM.”

However, “there will not be a ‘killer app’ per se. Our belief is that the ecosystem will be the fundamental enabler to deliver the ‘Internet of Things’,” she said.

Coston said M2M take-up has been growing steadily at around 25% per year, and is likely to continue at this rate for the foreseeable future; however, she said other estimates vary significantly, with forecasts predicting anywhere between 15 billion and 50 billion devices coming online by 2020.

Whatever the figures there is a huge market,” she said.

Indeed, industry body the GSMA in partnership with Machina Research and a number of operators and vendors in October predicted global M2M revenues will be worth $1.2 trillion to operators by 2020.

The question you end up asking, to be honest, will be ‘why shouldn’t I connect this device?‘” said Coston.

In addition, she revealed that Telefonica is also committed to making M2M more accessible to the average consumer by cutting through technical jargon.

We will simplify [M2M] through delivering great solutions that are customer focused,” she explained. “We won’t talk about technology but the benefits [it brings], and bring it to market in an affordable way.

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