Ericsson Tuesday signed an agreement to acquire Telenor Connexion's machine-to-machine (M2M) platform, in an effort to get more technology and know-how in the growing sector.
No financial details about the deal have been announced. In addition to the platform, 11 employees will move to Ericsson. Telenor Connexion is wholly owned by Norwegian operator Telenor Group, and a provider of M2M solutions. The company's customer list includes Nissan, General Electric and Qualcomm.
The deal follows the February launch of Ericsson's Device Connection Platform, a service that Ericsson plans to sell telecom operators, which in turn will set up M2M applications for their enterprise customers. The platform is sold as a cloud service, offering operators the traditional cloud benefits of a low initial investment and a fast rollout. Telenor Connexion will become Ericsson's first Device Connection Platform customer.
M2M refers to machines communicating with each other over a wired or wireless network. There are a multitude of different applications for the technology, including smart meters, e-health, asset management and connected vehicles. In case of an accident, for example, a connected car could send information about the number of people in the vehicle to emergency personnel.
As operators look for new ways to make money, interest in M2M communications has been growing rapidly. For example, operators are looking to work together to improve connectivity costs. Recently, T-Mobile USA and operator Everything Everywhere announced they were working on embedded SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards that could be used to roam abroad at local rates. Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom are also looking at how the two operators could work together in the M2M sector.
The number of M2M devices will increase from 62 million worldwide in 2010 to 2.1 billion in 2020, according to market research company Analysys Mason. With a year-on-year growth rate of between 36 percent and 52 percent, M2M has the potential to be one of the fastest-growing connectivity sectors in the next decade, it said.