Mobile M2M is the Next Wave for Mobile Enterprise
A few years ago I started a company called Antenna Software. For those of you old enough to remember, the Mobile Internet was going-to-be-huge in 2000… Eleven years later it’s now starting to live up to that promise and Antenna has benefitted from the upswell. Antenna focuses on what’s called the Mobile Enterprise, a market category that is roughly comprised of mobile professionals (sales, service, etc) using smart phones, tablets and other wirelessly connected devices to conduct business, securely, in the field. The revolution was started by the RIM Blackberry + email and has mushroomed to include just about every type of enterprise app you can imagine. It’s big business now and getting bigger quickly. The reasons are simple. Mobile enterprise apps help get the right information, into the right hands at the right moment which helps improve customer responsiveness, worker productivity and operational efficiency. The ROI is bulletproof.
Now let’s look at what I call Mobile M2M.
With the success that has come with enabling mobile workers with real-time information has come the realization that the same ROI benefits could also be collected from other types of mobile “assets”, for example cars, trucks, locomotives, golf carts, bicycles, shopping carts, etc. A system that tracks things via a network connection is usually categorized as telematics and is a classic M2M market segment. And this category is experiencing significant interest and growth right now, which makes complete sense. Vehicle efficiency, safety, compliance, etc. is of vital interest to the business managers who operate them.
Keep in mind that “mobile” doesn’t have to mean constantly-in-motion. It could be a kiosk that gets moved once a month. Or a digital signage system that promotes a weekend sale and is then relocated to another part of the store.
The point is, everything we’ve learned from empowering mobile humans with the ability to produce/consume real-time business data is exactly applicable to mobile machines. And rather than try and create a new way of defining and conceptualizing M2M as something *new* I think it is far easier to see it from the eyes of a business owner/manager/partner –> it’s an extension of an already well-understood, ROI-centric revolution called Mobile Enterprise. Mobile Enterprise and Mobile M2M are the same thing because that’s how managers run their businesses. The differences are purely technical.
This is good news for potential users because it becomes part of a seamless value proposition. It’s good for M2M vendors because using this context helps fit solutions, that may have been pigeon-holed as a separate silo into a mainstream, well-understood and valued application category.