M2M - The Industry

We should never use the word "ecosystem" when we are talking about M2M because it implies that things are codependent for existence. I know one thing for sure – nothing is co-dependent in our M2M market space.

Look – I wish for universal standards as much as the next guy, but after 20 years in the business, the market is still characterized by small struggling firms who are trying to hit an ever-moving, very small target. There isn't time for universal standards when you are struggling to keep the lights on. With the bigger players like IBM, SAP and Oracle putting a toe in the water, universal standards seem promising. But this industry was built on proprietary standards and the idea that our collective DNA is going to go through a metamorphosis and become something universally standardized… well, I just don’t see it. Let’s face it – customers, OEMs and carriers all have a vested interest in keeping the situation the same. It is the consultants and integrators that really desire the change.

Change will come. I just don’t think it will be by way of sweeping reforms and/or a silver bullet. Keep in mind that it took 20 years to get the proprietary applications and products selling well, so what makes anyone think that any new standard is going to sweep out the old?

Going forward it appears clear that some standards are going to take hold. Consider Microsoft and Apple who got a lot of their ideas from Xerox and then commercialized them. I think that this is the path for our market, more of a think tank derived solution that is commercialized by others, as opposed to a commercialization of a solution to benefit some of the large consultancies. Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) comes to mind as a first stab at trying to standardize our M2M market place, but I couldn't predict its adoption or even survival. Chances are it will not succeed, but it is a start.

While I'm at it I wish people would stop saying "deep dive", "Internet of Everything" and "Internet of Things" – Machine-to-Machine is just fine. I certainly don’t need Cisco telling me what to call my industry. After all, I was here 19 1/2 years before they were.