NEW DELHI: Leading telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications (RCom) are betting on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to consolidate their presence in the enterprise space, besides tapping the government’s ambitious Digital India and 100 Smart Cities initiatives.
M2M is a technology that leverages connected devices to remotely work or talk to each other through a wireless network. The telcos have started offering SIM-based M2M services to enterprises across verticals in the form of smart metering, vehicle tracking and fuel monitoring system, and traffic management solution.
While Vodafone India has identified M2M as strategic growth lever for 2015, Airtel sees its current M2M offerings across the power sector, asset tracking segment and point-of-sale services as “tip of the iceberg”. Manish Prakash, president, Airtel Business, told ET that “they have the potential not only to transform organisations, but also act as catalyst for government’s vision of Digital India and smart cities”.
He said about 35% of the total M2M base in the country uses offerings from Airtel Business. Airtel offers a bouquet of M2M solutions that ride on various connectivity options including VSAT, GPRS/EDGE, 3G, NLD and Internet, which Prakash said is suited to provide end-to-end connected solutions.
“We are working on various government-led initiatives that include smart metering, fleet tracking, tax collection and traffic management to drive digital expansion,” he said. According to technology advisory and research firm Gartner, the product and service providers of ‘connected devices’ will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly from services in 2020, taking the device base to 26 billion.
IDC, on the other hand, estimates that devices connected to the Internet will generate nearly $9 trillion in annual sales by 2020.
Vodafone India provides M2M solutions through its global platform, through its enterprise arm Vodafone Business Services (VBS). It is currently working with system integrators, device manufacturers and application service providers to offer new services like health monitoring, school bus tracking and personal emergency systems, the company said.
“The M2M market is growing exponentially in India. Industries such as automotive, utilities, financial services, and transportation are finding tremendous business value in this innovation,” a Vodafone India spokesperson said, adding that the company will soon provide solutions in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, energy management, retail asset management and telematics solutions.
Reliance Communications said it is testing its own M2M solutions across its own sister companies in power, cement distribution and healthcare industries.
“RCom has the necessary building blocks for M2M already – telecom network, M2M SIMs and charging applications, data centre and a partner ecosystem to deliver end-to-end M2M services,” the company spokesperson said. Airtel’s Prakash said the market for M2M business is poised to grow as suggested by trends.
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm, the only pan-India 4G licence holder, is set to give tough competition to these players in the enterprise space. The company, widely expected to start services next month, is creating the ecosystem of companies that will build solutions on top of its network to provide enterprise services across verticals, including smart cities, Internet of things (IoT) and M2M communications.