There is a race going on and it looks set to be won by the mobile phone service operators. It is the race to market for machine-to-machine communications and the Internet of Things. However, in the long-term those services may well not be operated on existing cell phone frequencies.
This should give startups that are basing their future on yet to be created wireless infrastructure, pause for thought. One such is Neul Ltd. (Cambridge, England), which is pioneering the re-use of radio spectrum in the form of television white space (TVWS) transmissions.
Neul has done pioneering work for dynamic spectrum allocation and argued that much of M2M communications is not well suited to existing fixed frequency communications channels that have all been created with human oriented payloads and latencies in mind. Neul's second compelling argument is that if IoT takes off – creating billions of talkative nodes – then it would be sensible to put them into different and dedicated channels where they will not encumber existing and growing volumes of voice and data communications.
However the mobile phone service providers have a key advantage in their go-to-market strategy. They have an up-and-running and partially amortized network. They also have an intense, financially-driven desire to extend their business away from competition and in to new high-margin services. They don't want to be the "dumb pipe."
So it should come as no surprise that we see the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Sprint making moves on M2M.
Telecommunications service provider Deutsche Telekom AG (Bonn, Germany) has made M2M and IoT a key part of its strategy and is pursuing numerous initiatives including the nurturing of startups in this area. It has also signed a multimillion dollar cargo-monitoring service deal based on machine-to-machine (M2M) communication over the cellular network.
In a similar vein Vodafone plc (Newbury, England) has signed up Globe Tracker International (Copenhagen Denmark) whom it will support via its Global SIM services. Vodafone claims to have 250 experts focused on developing a range of M2M services. In a statement issued to mark the deal Erik Brenneis, director of M2M at Vodafone, said: "M2M communications are transforming global trade by enabling companies to track their products end-to-end and increase productivity."
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The e2o electric car from Mahindra Reva is loaded with Vodafone features