The machine-to-machine (M2M) and embedded device market is about to experience explosive growth, growing from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $25.9 billion in 2016, according to VDC Research. For channel partners, it could mean a rich vein of opportunity across a range of business verticals, plus inside the connected home.
M2M is widely believed to be the Next Big Thing in terms of wireless connectivity. For instance, real use cases today include smart parking meters that correspond with a “find a parking space” app for drivers, patient-tracking devices for Alzheimer’s patients, connected cars, a wide range of telematics and monitoring solutions, home security and surveillance solutions, and smart in-home appliances like lights and thermostats that can be controlled remotely. For agents and resellers, there’s an opportunity in selling the service bundles that go around these types of applications as part of a wider connectivity package—broadband will almost certainly be a requirement. Often, these devices will be aggregated behind a Wi-Fi gateway as well, offering a WLAN/Wi-Fi opportunity as well. Partners can also of course sell the actual devices, plus value-added installation and implementation services: VDC found that 66 percent of survey respondents said that M2M requirements are driving them toward greater use of integrated, turnkey solutions.
“There isn’t a product on the market today that in the future won’t have a service component enabled by M2M,” said Mitch Solomon, VDC CEO. “At VDC, we are thinking about near-term M2M opportunities that connect one technology to another, enabling new features and benefits.”
A full 76 percent of device manufacturers surveyed by VDC said that they believe M2M will help their service provider customers increase revenue, and 73 percent of OEMs say M2M is increasingly cited by their management as critical to the future success of their organization.
The opportunity is closely tied to the cloud, and in a sense, enables a range of innovative applications. “What has us really excited is the opportunity created by connecting the limitless array of unintelligent objects and products that comprise the physical world,” Solomon said.
He added, “We see a future where a pet food company sells technology-enabled alerts that automatically deliver a new supply of cat food with its products, where drywall is sold with built-in sensors and services that enable better building management and security, where luggage retailers sell learning-luggage that reminds its owner what to pack. The future of M2M is about animating this limitless array of previously lifeless objects, which will result in incredible opportunities for entrepreneurial companies.”