M2M the next big area for IT, telcos [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]
(DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mumbai: Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is fast replacing SMAC (social, mobility, analytics and cloud) as the buzzword of the season in the IT and telecom industries.
Last month, Vodafone and Mahindra Reva signed an agreement for India's first M2M-powered car.
And on Tuesday, Wipro announced it had signed an agreement with US-based AT&T to develop M2M solutions.
Machine-to-Machine solutions wirelessly connect diverse devices to a network, enabling two-way communication. Talk about controlling your car, fridge, microwave, home PC or TV with your smartphone, and you are talking M2M.
Going by experts, this is a whole new segment for IT and telecom firms to tap.
Globally, the M2M market is expected to present a $98 billion business opportunity by 2018.
Wipro's verticals will now adopt AT&T's M2M app, which can expedite delivery time of IT projects and also lower the cost of development of software and apps.
Industry experts see more such deals in the next 3-6 months.
A recent SAP and Harris Interactive survey revealed that 90% of IT decision-makers in India believe that M2M is the natural evolution of IT that is increasingly consumer-driven.
Moreover, as workforce tends to be on the move these days, and given the spread of broadband infrastructure, M2M apps have huge potential going forward, respondents told the survey.
Telcos such as Airtel and Idea are steadily ramping up their M2M business. In fact, M2M is already a big part of Vodafone's enterprise business which generates close to 50% of its overall revenues.
M2M is expected to start contributing to Vodafone's revenues in the next two years, according to Naveen Chopra, director of Vodafone Business Services.
"M2M will grow exponentially within the next three years in India. More and more apps are being developed, which will be adopted rapidly everywhere. For telecom players, M2M provides two-fold gains: an additional revenue stream for enterprises; and cost-savings, in terms of network sharing with operators, and energy-savings in towers," said an industry expert.
IT companies, too, stand to benefit, said R Venkateswaran, senior vice-president and CTO, Persistent Systems. "Developing the platform for M2M technology, developing the apps for devices to communicate with each other, and monitoring and managing the M2M ecosystem... all these present a scale of business much higher than even mobile devices." M2M, he said, covers a wide range of devices covering utility (smart meters, smart grid), automotive industry and white goods (smart TVs, microwaves, watches).
Energy and real estate giants are next in line to cash in on M2M. In India, Viom Networks and Schneider India already use M2M for energy-saving purposes. Recently, the Raheja group had begun using M2M for building management.
Going forward, construction of skyscrapers could use M2M in a big way, according to experts.
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