M2M and the Internet of Things (IoT) were definitely high on the agenda at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The chip makers were in action, while module providers launched services to help new M2M applications reach commercial launch faster.
Axel Hansmann, M2M strategy & marketing VP at Gemalto, which owns M2M module provider Cinterion, says: ‘We’ve put our module onto a developer concept board. We are using Java coding language and an Arduino-style sensor board. You clip it on and you can prototype your idea. You can add a shield on top: the agent sits on the module and that means data can be collected in the cloud. You can then take the data and play with it and see what you can do.
‘We’ve got terminals available as well so you can take your M2M idea to market, he continues. ‘It is a commercial product, so it is cost optimised and it uses the same Java code from prototype on your commercial product. The idea is to stimulate the creativity of the developers; we’ve got to make it quicker and faster for enterprises to take what they need to market.’
Rival, Sierra Wireless, has done something similar according to Olivier Pauzet, VP marketing and market strategy, M2M Embedded Solutions, with its open source Linux-based Legato platform, which is designed to enable a very quick development of new M2M applications.
‘The big problem is getting an M2M prototype to market and then scaling it very fast. We are trying to simplify this,’ says Pauzet. The Legato platform comes in three parts: the Application Platform; Linux Distribution; and the Development Environment – a complete suite of open source tools with pre-certified and validated elements to help developers bring ideas to market.
Further up the M2M stack, Jürgen Hase, VP of M2M Competence Center, Deutsche Telekom, agrees with the need for speed and an open source approach.
‘You have to look at how to best interact with all the different partners in the M2M stack,’ says Hase. ‘For us that means providing a horizontal platform that connects with the vertical platforms. You do that by making APIs available, as you have to interact with different players and partners. Open APIs are vital, but we need to find the right place as to where to end our API, so partners can easily plug in to our ecosystem and then put the right person in front of the customer.’
Vodafone M2M was showcasing solutions in mHealth and smart applications in energy, retail and manufacturing. It also displayed a smart vending machine for drinks that monitors temperature, weight and number of door openings to assess when it was time to refill the machine. The door includes a display screen for video downloads. It is also working with Admirror to provide public mirrors, which can also display adverts.
mEducation in the Philippines
The Philippines Department of Education has created a common education platform and certification process in collaboration with the country’s telecommunication firms and facilitated by the GSMA.
Globe Telecom is running a pilot for English language proficiency course using the IVR (interactive voice response) model designed to help improve peoples’ employability. Maria Yolanda C. Crisanto, senior VP, corporate communications at Globe, says: ‘It is an intervention platform for out of school use, which the Government hopes will help people get training accreditation and become more employable.’
Smart Communications is operating a mobile service for Filipino out of school youths to help them find local training courses.
Stephanie V. Orlino, community partnerships public affairs group at Smart, explains: ‘This is aimed at the 6.2 million youths who dropped out of school. If they have a smartphone, they can access courses via the internet, but those with 2G feature phones use the IVR model.’
Another app, designed by Smart in conjunction with Digital Mobile Philippines, is used by teachers to check their pupils’ progress. The teacher can contact them via SMS or a conference call with face to face contacts once or twice a week. The service is due to be operational in the second half of this year.