Machine-to-machine Internet communication connecting any-device anywhere
11 October 2013

Machine-to-machine Internet communication connecting any-device anywhere

Sierra Wireless is based on Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. They are betting their future on machine-to-machine communication using Internet IP-based technology and wireless communication. Sierra has become the world's biggest manufacturer and designer of devices that enable machine-to-machine wireless communication.

Sierra Wireless CEO, Jason Cohenour "believes that … every machine that can benefit from being connected, will be connected."

The Internet of Things Trend

Sierra Wireless is right on trend because there is a concept of connecting everything to the Internet. For example, coffee machines, cars, home appliances, televisions, vending machines, and alarm systems are all part of this technology evolution.

The vision of the Internet of things is to automate daily life by connecting one machine to another.

The Internet of things is already in use but you may not be aware of it. Traffic lights and parking meters are already able to communicate wirelessly. Security cameras and home alarm systems are also equipped with wireless functionality that bring the Internet directly to them.

In the agricultural world cows have been fitted with wireless health monitoring devices. Yes cows are hooked up to the Internet.

Growing Competition

Sierra Wireless is going to be facing steep competition from behemoths like  Cisco Systems Inc. Sierra Wireless is working to secure acquisitions that will allow the company to enter emerging markets.

Market share for various companies (April 2013) making machine-to-machine technology includes: 30% Sierra Wireless, 24% Cinterlon, 18% Telit Communication, 8% SIMCom, and 20% for the remaining smaller players.

Higher Margins

Machine-to-machine technology supports higher margins because their is not a current competitive threat from low-cost Chinese manufacturers. This will definitely change once China copies the technology in the years ahead.

What is Machine-to-Machine Technology

Machine-to-machine consists of a small modular electronic parts in the shape of small square microprocessor-size chips. With time the technology will shrink to smaller chip-size parts that fit on a printed circuit board.

Sierra Wireless modules currently support such devices as driver-assistance services in cars, utility smart meters for homes, and health care devices that enable doctors to monitor their patients remotely.

A second part of Sierra Wireless machine-to-machine technology are ruggedized industrial gateways which are modems or wireless routers in solid steel waterproof cases that can be bolted into position for receiving the wireless traffic.

A third element of wireless machine-to-machine communication are location-based services that can track the exact position of cars, police cars, or fleets of trucks.

The fourth element of wireless machine-to-machine communication is building support for wireless carriers directly into the devices to take advantage of cellular network technology. Sierra Wireless already support such carriers as Vodofone, AT&T, China Mobile, Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless, Fido, and Telestra, to name a few.

Mobile Providers Looking For New Opportunities

The smartphone and tablet market is reaching maturity and mobile providers are looking for new revenue streams. Machine-to-machine communication is on the roadmap of wireless carriers to continue their growth in the years ahead.

Analysts are estimating that machine-to-machine communication will represent 17 percent of global wireless communication by 2017. This estimate was revised upward by 5 percent between 2012 and 2013. The numbers seem to be growing as the trend strengthens.

In Canada, mobile data traffic for machine-to-machine communication accounts for 3 percent in 2012 and there are predictions that this will grow by a factor of 23 times by 2017.

Rogers Communications in Canada expects to support one million devices in 2013.