Q&A: Telematics and the M2M app challenge

Q&A: Telematics and the M2M app challenge

App developers frequently lament that it's too hard to get meetings—or even a response—from OEMs. Joe Braga, press officer for m2m apps, has a solution: the M2M Challenge, a global competition that will spotlight the winning apps at Mobile World Congress 2013.

There are five categories: automotive and transport, energy and smart grid, security and surveillance, healthcare and wellness, and consumer electronics. The best solutions in each category will be promoted internationally through the marketing channels of sponsors and partners, including global sponsors Swisscom and Ericsson, as well as Telit and VARTA Microbattery. Winners also get $5,000. Entries close on December 31.

Braga talks to TU contributor Susan Kuchinskas about the trends he's seeing in the entries and about the prospects for M2M.

Tell us about m2m apps.

M2m appsis an independent intelligence platform for the global machine-to-machine (M2M) communication ecosystem. The goal of m2m apps is to provide clarity and promote business development in the M2M market. We offer vendors in the global M2M ecosystem the opportunity to present themselves, their products and their services free of charge in a dedicated and professional environment. Our users can search the knowledge base and create reports conveniently arranged by technologies, vertical industries, regions and detailed supplier data. (For more on M2M, see Industry insight: Telematics and machine-to-machine communications.)

Why did you launch the M2M Challenge?

As it is m2m app’s goal to be the virtual gathering spot for all M2M players, what better way to gather more players than getting a competition going?  So once that was decided, we went looking for a partner with experience in international competitions of this kind and teamed up with Navispace, a company with tremendous energy and drive, to help us get this going. Navispace provides global innovation awards, market and business development.

What's the goal of the competition?

It's an international competition seeking to spotlight and put upon the world stage the brilliant, innovative ideas in the fast-growing world of M2M and the ‘Internet of things’. The producers and consumers of the data are no longer people; they're machines, sensors or controllers. Some research studies say that for every device that is plugged into the Internet, there are likely to be 10 to 20 devices hanging off of it as well. It's a vast world out there of applications, and no one can even imagine the extent and boundaries for what these devices can and will do.

With the backing of our sponsors, along with other contributors, we decided to put together this competition to bring out these innovators: People out there devising ways of getting data and information into and out of devices—and making all of our lives better in the process. (For more on the Internet of things, see Telematics and M2M communications: Creating the Internet of things.)

You're already taking entries. Have any themes or trends emerged within the automotive and transport category?

We're receiving a robust number of entries. Obviously, one of the leading segments in the space that has been very active in innovation and M2M has been telematics. We want to make sure that the audience for Telematics Update is fully aware that there is still opportunity for those of them who have not entered their innovation and product ideas to do so before December 31.

We're seeing a lot of ideas related to infotainment. The automotive OEMs plan way ahead. They're thinking of their 2017 model year products. We're seeing a pull for solutions with very high bandwidth into the car, for example, the car as a hot spot essentially for delivering wi-fi capabilities to your smartphone while you're inside the car. We're seeing operators and infrastructure providers like Ericsson and Swisscom looking at LTE. They will embrace and interoperate with wi-fi. It's more convenient for the operator to talk to your car over LTE and have your smartphone be carrying your voice over wi-fi into the car communication module.

Staying within the automotive and transport category, what will the judges be looking for?

The top criterion is innovation. How new is it? What kind of business value does it really carry? How much benefit does it bring? Does it improve quality of life or improve security or safety?

What are the benefits for entrants?

There is a cash prize of $5,000 for the winner of each category. The finalists will get the opportunity to present their solutions at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2013. It's a world audience, with the world media present. Representatives of both the sponsors, Ericsson and Swisscom will be present and discuss each one of the finalist's innovations. It's a great opportunity for all of the finalists to be up on the world stage. I encourage everybody with a good idea that they're working on to get in there, get it registered and then watch out keep an eye on the mailbox to see if you made the finalist list, and come on over to Barcelona to find out.

Susan Kuchinskas is a regular contributor to TU.

For more on M2M, see Industry insight: Telematics and machine-to-machine communications.

Coming up in 2013: Consumer Telematics Show 2013 on January 7 in Las Vegas, V2X for Auto Safety and Mobility Europe 2013 on February 19-20 in Frankfurt, Telematics for Fleet Management Europe 2013 on March 19-20 in Amsterdam, Insurance Telematics Europe 2013 on May 8-9 in London and Telematics India and South Asia 2013 on June 5-7 in India.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports on In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Report, Human Machine Interface Technologies and Smart Vehicle Technology: The Future of Insurance Telematics.

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