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AT&T sees Asia as next big market for its M2M services

Source : The Economic Times
Mar 3, 2014

 NEW DELHI: US telecom major AT&T is pumping efforts in to the machine to machine (M2M) services business to improve its positioning in the global market. Also, the company is now focusing on the Asia region to achieve next set of growth.

In line with its strategy to increase footprints in the Asian countries, AT&T is now preparing to launch a new global asset tracking product. Additionally, the company will continue investing in the improvement of tools for developers, allowing them to build applications around AT&T's own M2M platform.

"We are announcing in the end of March a global asset tracking product that is compliant with air cargo," said Mobeen Khan, executive director, product marketing, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions, in a recent interaction with ET.

Last year, the company had launched a similar product in collaboration with OnAsset, but the executive said that the latest product will be more advanced, as compared to the older one.

"To the extent that a lot of the Asian countries are manufactures and exporters of products, this is very much targeted towards those countries in the sense that as they are exporting high-value cargo to Europe, North America and South America, they need global tracking capabilities through air cargo," Khan informed.

The executive said that AT&T is now one of the largest M2M providers in the world with 16 million devices under management to date, and the number is growing at a very healthy rate.

"Our biggest market obviously in the United States and then it expands from there into Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia," he said.

In the last couple of years, AT&T has started to build platforms and providing tools in the marketplace for developers and system integrators to build solutions around its infrastructure.

"That is our way to engage in developer community. We actually build the applications. One example of a systems integrator is Indian company Wipro. We have a strategic partnership with them where they are the delivery component of our platform solutions in the marketplace," Khan explained.

AT&T has taken a much more active role in the machine-to-machine space. AT&T has recently formed a global alliance with IBM to develop solutions that help support the "Internet of Things."

Under the partnership, both the companies are combining their analytic platforms, cloud, and security technologies with privacy in mind to gain more insights on data collected from machines in a variety of industries.

AT&T is talking to a number of companies to collaborate and lend its forces for providing strong data competence.

Speaking on the trends, Khan said that the speed of the network is increasing across the globe, enabling new applications. "With 2G SIMs you can do tracking location application really well. But now with the 4G LTE, we are seeing video streaming applications," he added.

According to Khan, there are more IT tools available for M2M in the present market scenario, as compared to earlier times.

Additionally, he said that the size of the devices, the complexity of the devices and the standardization are helping drive down the cost of the devices.

"I think these are the three big trends that are going to drive a lot of adoption over the next few years in M2M as well as in what they call internet of things (IOT)," Khan concluded.


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