From GPS, e-mail and social networks to the Web, apps and the cloud, our phones connect us to a lot of things, and that connection will only increase. Machine to machine (M2M) technology connects devices and equipment – not just your phones and tablets, but other day-to-day things like your car and house – to form what’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). M2M is expected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2020, and soon enough, our devices will be communicating with each other without our help.
Sprint has been providing M2M solutions for more than a dozen years. It started by putting data on different devices and has evolved its offerings to providing a full spectrum of bandwidth – from 2G all the way to 4G and LTE.
That’s right – I said 2G. While many carriers are opting to drop 2G, it’s still just as critical as 4G, LTE and other networks, depending on your use case. In fact, Sprint is expanding its low bandwidth division to continue offering 2G to customers.
Different verticals and businesses have different bandwidth needs. Take connected transportation, asset tracking, metering and monitoring companies; they don’t consume a lot of power and don’t require a lot of bandwidth, so why pay for the overhead, cost and energy of 4G/LTE networks?
Now take any company involved in video, advertising, digital signage or public safety; these companies require high-speed and quality connections. Sprint is there for them, too. The beauty of Sprint’s widespread bandwidth offerings and network assets is that it has the ability to take a customer from low bandwidth and graduate them up as they’re ready – the big emphasis is on the customer and helping him or her achieve the goal at hand.
“We have sufficient spectrum now that the SoftBank acquisition has gone through,” Russell Mosburg, director of M2M Solutions Engineering, Emerging Solutions Group, Sprint, told TMC at ITEXPO Las Vegas.
“It’s all about what you are trying to do and how we can help you,” Mosburg added.
Mosburg is speaking on two related panel sessions this week at the M2M Evolution Conference and Expo, a collocated event with ITEXPO:
- How Low To Go? (Low Data Rate)
- 4G LTE Drives New Generation of M2M Applications
Sprint’s network enables the company to provide a variety of solutions, such as connected transportation. Sprint Velocity offers automotive connectivity and is aimed directly at auto OEMs so that they can customize their offerings. They have a choice to pick from all sorts of features – from the traditional, “Help, I’m stalled!” E911 capabilities to the traditional lock and unlock feature.
It also works with IBM to take its services to the cloud. In terms of automotive connectivity, users can access their vehicle in the cloud from either their smartphone, tablet, home or any other secure portal. And that’s about to be a lot more common.
Mosburg explains that the future of M2M and the IoT will have a lifestyle impact. Right now, the average U.S. household has about five connected devices – a figure that’s going to increase over the next few years.
Eventually, we’ll all be connected to our stuff, whether it’s for security, convenience or pleasure – it all depends on the person. And not in the sense of Big Brother; it’s more about convenience and value. Bringing it back to connected transportation, right now, many B2B clients turn to Sprint for M2M solutions. There’s a big emphasis on safety while driving and fuel efficiency for these clients, and that will eventually expand to consumers as well. Mosburg explains that consumers will start to take things that were once specific to B2Bs and start to use them on their own.
M2M will also have a big impact on insurance. Being able to monitor and manage drivers mean insurance companies can gain insight into your driving habits and reward you if you’re a good driver – and apply the necessary fines if you are a crazy one.
Sprint is also ranked as the No. 3 green company in the U.S. – it is constantly looking for ways that the IoT can take carbon out and reduce footprints and waste. Expect to see a lot more where that came from and continued M2M and green integration from Sprint in the future.
Visit www.m2m.sprint.com to learn more.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo