That is a very good point indeed Barbara. Technically, one GSM/3G modem with one SIM card would suffice for many M2M applications. However, the mobile operators prefer alternative architectures where multiple SIM cards are necessary to build M2M networks.
There are two ways the mobile operators will be able to make money from M2M applications:
1 - Sell as many "machine" subscriptions as possible.
2 - Increase the data usage per subscription as much as possible.
With most M2M applications, the data usage per device is not high enough e.g. a home security application that alerts the user when there is a break in. Although there may be exceptions to this, the safest way to ensure a sizable revenue for the operators is option 1, where a small fixed fee will be charged per M2M device.
As a matter of fact, in 2010 the GSM Association (GSMA) has formed a task force to develop something called "embedded SIM" technology. This task force includes many big names such as AT&T, Deutche Telecom, France Telecom, NTT DOCOMO, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone who agreed to spearhead this development. Besides making remote activation of SIM cards possible, embedded SIM is also targeted to deeply integrate the SIM technology into a device, making miniaturisation and subscription management of M2M devices easier. We should soon start to see devices with embedded SIM soon as the products were targeted for 2012.
Embedded SIM is a means for the mobile operators to reach the volume of billions of M2M devices operating on their networks. Nobody wants to install each SIM card individually and activate them one by one on a modest M2M network say with 100 devices. Therefore, embedded SIM does make a lot of sense and is a strong indication of how the mobile operators are planning to make money from M2M.
M2M might actually make multiple charging unnecessary. We already have a lot of M2M activities with modems and routers, for instance. One of the things that M2M offers is in trimming costs as the work that used to be manually performed gets assigned to a machine. One wireless broadband card, for instance, allows up to 5 people to get online without multiple charges. I see M2M as a tool that allows companies to offer increased automation at lower pricing.
I'm a little unclear on one issue here: does m2m service require a subscription for each device? In other words, instead of multiple PCs using a single modem (one charge), m2m would require each machine to be identified and charged separately? If that's the case, it seems m2m would be very profitable.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.