In today’s world, we use (and create) a lot of data in our everyday lives.  Every transaction you make at a store, every email you send and every picture you post of your kids in Halloween costumes on Facebook is sent across the Internet and stored somewhere.  However, the amount of data that you currently create will pale in comparison to what you will create in the future......thanks to the new world of Big Data!

Big Data is a catch word that is everywhere, yet most people do not understand what it means.   While I have never seen a perfect definition, here is what it means to means that all of the data you currently create (transactional, social media, video, etc.) will be added to the new sources of data (sensors, machine usage, etc.) and put into a much larger pile.  At that point, the data will have to be sorted, manipulated and presented in a manner that allows someone to do something useful with it.....whether that usefulness includes:

  • Making an offer more personal to you
  • Allowing them to know when a machine will fail
  • Knowing when a patient can stay home longer to avoid a costly hospital stay

The question becomes: Who will win the battle to control your data?

Why is this important?  The answer is simple. In the long run, the real money to be made in this space will not be from selling hardware or network airtime (although, there is SOME money to be made there), but rather from selling services to allow customers to do more with this incredible amount of information.  If you are a business owner, you don’t care HOW you find out more data from your customers, you care WHAT data you find out and how you can use it to better your business.

So, who are some of the companies that will be battling to control your data?

Cellular Carriers

  • Without a doubt, cellular carriers have a running start on this.  Carriers have been involved in M2M solutions for over a decade and they have a strong understanding of how to bring back data securely (through a variety of specialized IP and security offerings).
  • However, their experience (especially on the wireless side) with integrating into key corporate systems is not as strong as other parties in this space, so one has to wonder if they have enough differentiation to stand out among their competitors?
  • As well, with the influx of many new players into the market (as international carriers are moving into North America), will the carriers be able to sustain margins on airtime to make it very profitable?  This might actually force them into the data management space...

M2M Platform Providers

  • Many of today’s M2M solutions (both landline and wireless) see their data being sent to an M2M platform.  These platforms do a great job of playing “Traffic Cop” to help companies make great decisions with their data.  They also perform well in both a stand-alone fashion (where data is presented directly on the platform) as well as when they integrate into other larger platforms.
  • However, this market is starting to become a bit saturated, and there are no dominant players in this space.  This makes this market ripe for consolidation and for many of these companies to be acquired.....likely by large ERP companies who will use these platforms as ways to feed data into their own systems.
  • While I like this sector, I think that they will eventually have a tough time competing “with the big boys”.

Large Systems Integration Firms

  • I don’t know many companies who have the “ears” of more CIOs than a company like IBM or Accenture.  They have it all – the integration expertise, the project management skills and the advertising budgets to be huge forces in the M2M space.
  • However, will they be able to put it all together, and will they have any appetite for the customers who aren’t on the Fortune 500 list?  Most small and mid-sized companies aren’t on their radar, so that leaves a huge market available.

ERP Platform Providers

  • If I understand correctly, all of the Fortune 100 companies have some services from both Oracle AND from SAP.  These two players, along with other cloud-based services are forces to be reckoned with in the world of Enterprise.  With their recent focus on the world of M2M, it stands to reason that a lot of the world’s Big Data decisions will be done using their services.
  • However, two things jump out as standing in their way.  First, their appeal to the world of small to medium business is likely not as strong as they would like and they need to find ways to offer more cloud-based services into these spaces to increase their Big Data presence.  As well, they will find themselves needing to offer more complete, turn-key offerings to be able to compete with companies such as IBM, who will be offering turn-key solutions.

Social Media / Internet Service Providers

  • In this space, I would include a wide range of companies ranging from Facebook to Google to Amazon cloud services and many more.  These players offer unique services that make up an important part of the Big Data experience.  It may range from easy to use methods of uploading data, to a great cloud-based storage experience as well as platforms to alert you effectively (either email or text).
  • We’ve yet to see much from these players in the M2M space, although based on their entry into the overall world of Big Data, I can’t imagine it will be long.
  • While their impact will most likely be based on the consumer market, I wouldn’t be so crazy to rule out Google when it comes to the corporate space, based on the success of their document services online.

Large IT Players

  • So, what about other large players like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, Dell, HP, Texas Instruments etc.?
  • To date, they have had a varying level of interest in M2M ranging from specialized hardware for the M2M world, to initial attempts to create standards/ecosystems for the M2M world, to an overall increased focus on M2M in general.
  • With the incredible reach into all areas of technology, it is only a matter of time before these companies evolve their offerings to take advantage of this new world.  It may be by offering services to compete with the large SIs (I can imagine Dell and HP will play here), chip/board level solutions that make it easier/cheaper to collect data (Intel is already here, as is TI) or easy-to-use platforms that allow for low cost offerings to present data to users (Apple, Microsoft and Cisco could dominate here).

Bottom line

In today’s world, we create an increasing amount of data, and it is only going to get bigger.  Rest assured that companies are lining up at the chance to offer services to help make it more useful.  The ones who win this battle will likely be the “new kings of the IT world”.  With so many powerful companies in this space, it will be exciting to watch. Let the battle begin!

As always, let Novotech know how we can help with your M2M needs, such as antenna selection.  You can visit our web page @  As well, feel free to reach out to me directly ....larry(@)  You can also follow us on Twitter (@NovotechM2M) and you can follow me personally as well (@LBNovotechM2M).