The mobile industry needs to work more closely with other industry sectors and understand their individual needs if embedded mobile or M2M technology is to make a real impact, says Vodafone.
“The potential of embedded mobile will only be realised if operators fully understand the needs of specific industries,” Vodafone's head of global business development for M2M, Marc Sauter, told Mobile Business Briefing, adding that industries such as the automotive and utilities sectors have different sets of challenges related to M2M technology.
UK utilities companies, for example, have the government mandate to move to M2M-enabled smart meters by 2019 to cope with. The automotive sector, meanwhile, is likely to have to deal with European legislation for all cars to be equipped with technology that automatically contacts emergency services in the case of a serious accident by 2015.
Both Ford and BMW have called for greater operator involvement in the connected cars space. Vodafone Germany recently signed a deal with BMW to install adapted mobile SIMs into the car maker's 'ConnectedDrive' vehicles.
Another big challenge in the M2M space, according to Sauter, is the complexity and fragmentation that can be created when the technology isn’t delivered as a standardised managed service through a trusted supplier.
“As with all new technologies, both suppliers and customers benefit from greater standardisation which can help to lower the entry cost as well as offer enhanced capabilities. The industry needs to focus on reducing multiple standards and protocols which impact interoperability and inhibit market growth,” he said.
“Ultimately, the mobile industry needs to work together to address issues of fragmentation in order to deliver more value and higher service levels to corporate customers,” Sauter added.
Operators also need to make it easier for companies to deploy this technology. “Vodafone is tackling this by building an extensive knowledge of industry needs alongside an established network of global partnerships to support service and product development,” Sauter explained.
The operator group has created a dedicated Global M2M Platform to make it as simple as possible for customers to rollout and manage M2M technology, by providing a centrally managed way of deploying smart services through connected devices. The operator group also offers a range of M2M starter kits to help customers with device integration projects by reducing the complexity of installing and deploying M2M technology.
Another area Vodafone has focused on in is partnerships, with the likes of Bosch, Accenture and Intel being enlisted to provide connectivity, hardware and application services to make the deployment of M2M services as cost-effective as possible.
Operator support is also essential for device manufacturers, who have considerable M2M expertise, if they are to fully move into the M2M space and drive deployment of the technology globally, Sauter added.