Global machine-to-machine communications may get easier with Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, nPhase alliance

New integrated wireless platform offers customers an easy way to roll out M2M solutions across Europe and the U.S., nPhase said.


Vodafone, Verizon Wireless and nPhase, a Verizon Wireless / Qualcomm Joint Venture, are forming a strategic alliance aimed at accelerating the adoption of global machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless deployments by simplifying the remote management and monitoring of devices spread across European and US networks.

Related wireless developments from Control Engineering ; see links below.

- Healthy Machines ;
- Smart wireless services: 5 reasons ;
- Air Products, others, appreciate M2M benefits ;
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ABB gets M2M benefits - ABBRobotics saw an opportunity to dramatically reduce robot downtime and toprovide service more cost-effectively, by eliminating on-sitetroubleshooting and coordinating spare part and field techniciandispatch. Results were a 70% reduction in asset downtime; dramaticimprovement in ABB's customers' performance; increase in productioncapacity; and reduction in robot programming time.

The alliance, announced Feb. 15, is designed to deliver a simple and effective international management solution for the growing number of companies looking to use M2M wireless communications to enhance their customer service and create new service offerings in sectors including energy, healthcare, automotive telematics, consumer and commercial products, according to nPhase. A good example of M2M technology in action is the growing use of smart meters in the utility industry, enabling firms to efficiently collect meter data and provide two-way data transmissions and tailored offers for customers.

The alliance members anticipate that this move will result in increased demand for M2M services on mobile networks across Europe and North America over the coming years. Globally, industry-wide operator revenues for wireless M2M were $4.3 billion (€3 billion) in 2008, and this is forecast to rise to $12.9 billion (€8.9 billion) in 2012, according to the telecom analyst firm Berg Insight, based in Sweden, according to the nPhase information.

Easier integration: The initiative is expected to make it easier for Verizon Wireless and Vodafone customers to activate, monitor and pay for devices that are deployed across European (on GSM) and US (on CDMA and GSM) networks. The alliance will also offer a single point of contact for provisioning devices that are connected to Verizon Wireless and Vodafone networks.

It also will enable firms to centrally manage and control the process of rolling out M2M devices across many countries. This will increase implementation speeds and reduce the cost, complexity and risk traditionally associated with deploying such projects. The alliance members will also work toward providing customers with a single invoice and a single point of contact for technical and other support.

The nPhase M2M services platform, which integrates with the Vodafone M2M global service platform, will provide customers with a range of online management tools giving them a single view of their international M2M estate with additional management capabilities in the pipeline.

The essence of this new alliance is to simplify the complex," said Steve Pazol, president of nPhase. "This business alliance removes many of the complexities by building on the tremendous capabilities and reach of Vodafone and Verizon Wireless to offer a single standard interface, and provide pre-certified global devices that can support both CDMA and GSM networks."

Advantages of M2M technology
: M2M technology is helping firms to deliver increasingly personalized services to customers while improving efficiencies. An example is the growing use of smart meters in the utility industry, enabling firms to efficiently collect meter data and provide two-way communication and tailored offers for customers. In addition to the role M2M can play in enabling smarter services, the technology can help large businesses to reduce their operations' impact on the environment. A Vodafone report entitled "Carbon Connections" calculates that the greenhouse gas emissions savings from a range of M2M-enabled smart systems could be more than 90 million tonnes per year across 25 EU countries by the year 2020, according to nPhase.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering ,

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