What role will operators play in M2M?
Mobility is the key selling point here, and operators remain the only enabler for devices to utilize truly mobile cellular connectivity across vast and remote areas. From a business point of view, the option of cellular connectivity is highly attractive as it requires minimal capex investment since the mobile operator has already built the infrastructure making it a fast, easily deployable, and highly scalable solution.
Mobile operators are then in the best position to ‘extend’ their M2M current services. Operators have a highly-prized knowledge in effectively and securely managing devices on a broad scale with experience of activating and upgrading thousands of devices on their networks whilst also handling a diverse set of standards and device-specific protocols.
Initially, operators are likely to be Subscription Managers in Data Preparation (SM-DP) and Secure Routing (SM-SR) but, further down the line, may begin to think about offering end-to-end services. They can progress to retrofitting, certifying and provisioning M2M devices. From there, they can manage the device connectivity by providing added-value premiums such as uptime/downtime guarantees and offering remote services for the maintenance of the M2M devices (Over-The-Air firmware upgrades, diagnostics and troubleshooting). This could lead to the formation of new dedicated business units within network operators to cater for M2M activities and their specialized infrastructure.
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