Maravedis-Rethink recently concluded a study on the intersection of M2M and cloud computing.
A key driver of the study was to analyze the impact that cloud computing will have on mass adoption of M2M solutions. The study asked which M2M mass adoption challenges cloud will most likely have the biggest positive impact on.
Cloud can have a positive impact in multiple areas, including infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service:
- IaaS: more cost efficiency and innovation M2M applications
- PaaS: more cost-efficient and easy to use and integrate platforms
- SaaS: provide scale, storage, processing, big data analytics, and federation
Traditional M2M: point solutions connecting devices and machine data to a central database for use in monitoring, diagnostic, and support services.
Internet of Things: connected devices and sensors everywhere, massive stores of data in the cloud, tidal wave of new applications, and consumerization of M2M
Based on discussions with the M2M industry, many vendor executives, thought leaders, and others view M2M as applications on top of cloud.
A majority of respondents, 61.3 percent, indicated that cloud would have the most positive impact on cost to implement, operate, and maintain. Cloud computing has already dramatically reduced the cost to implement IT infrastructure to launch and support new applications and systems, including M2M solutions, and respondents expect even greater savings to come.
Just as important, cloud has dramatically reduced the cost and time to get pilot programs up and running in order to establish organizational support and maintain interest in M2M initiatives. Based on discussions with vendors and end-user customers, large enterprise M2M projects historically could take two to three years to complete, and often at least $25 million in IT infrastructure investment.
The cloud impact on costs directly links to enabling profitable business models, but cloud also enables new kinds of services capabilities for various supply chain players. Mobile operators and vendors, for example, can provide cloud-based storage, processing, and analytics that can create brand-new revenue streams and differentiated offerings.
Cloud computing also provides a powerful ability to scale based on virtualized data center services, cloud-based platforms, and easier to integrate cloud-based applications.
Integration with IT systems was also identified a top challenge that cloud will address. SAP and Oracle, for example, are aggressively promoting the ability to integrate M2M data with existing IT systems. Axeda, AT&T, and salesforce.com are also showcasing solutions that tightly integrate M2M data and alerts with customer support systems, including the social networking aspect of CRM systems. At this point, salesforce.com is a key interface to M2M business solutions, but going forward, Facebook and other social platforms will become key interfaces to M2M and IoT solutions and new innovative applications.
While vendors and suppliers are taking different approaches to enabling M2M solutions, the common theme is that cloud computing is essential in enabling mass adoption of M2M solutions, which will also support the next wave of innovation, laying the foundations for the broader Internet of Things and the consumerization of M2M. The consumerization of M2M is not well defined, but will become a massive unprecedented and wide-open opportunity for players and newcomers up and down the value chain, including for developers migrating away from the saturated mobile application market.