Gemalto is at Mobile World Congress this week promoting its M2M solutions, including new enhanced ruggedized products, and discussing the many challenges and opportunities machine-to-machine communications presents for its OEM customers, mobile operators, enterprises and government entities.
In an interview with TMCnet this week in Barcelona, Philippe Vallee, Gemalto’s executive vice president of the telecom business unit, explained that the company came to M2M from the smartcard world. Smartcards contain embedded chips that store customer data and security mechanisms that enable users to access something (like their bank account) or trigger an action (such as opening the door to their business).
The company has since expanded its business so it now sells both the client part/SIM cards as well as the back-end software systems that manage those clients in the field. For example, the ISIS mobile wallet initiative involving AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile required a server back-end and SIM cards to enable provision payment in the phone. Gemalto enables that for ISIS, which the carriers have launched as a large-scale pilot in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah, and which is expected to launch nationwide in the not-too-distant future, Vallee added.
Cellular service providers, banks, governments and enterprises are the four key customer targets for Gemalto, which brings its products to market both direct and via reseller agreements through such companies as Ericsson. Half of Gemalto’s $2 billion in revenue comes from telecom, the other half is split pretty evenly between banking and government, Vallee said.
Vallee and Benoit Jouffrey, vice president of M2M value-added services, also spoke about the need for M2M devices and the back-end systems with which they connect to share data both upstream and downstream. M2M devices are all about collecting data and delivering it to the desired system or repository, but it’s also important for management systems to be able to tap into M2M devices remotely to ensure they’re working and updated as needed. Remote access management capabilities, as well as ruggedized device features mentioned earlier, will be increasingly important as the number of M2M devices in the field grows and as these devices increasingly are deployed in difficult-to-access locations such as atop wind turbines or on trees in the Amazon Rainforest. Gemalto also is focused on remote control capabilities so customers can provision the SIM at the actual place and actual date that activation is required.
Edited by Brooke Neuman