Standards bodies moving too slowly for M2M industry

Standards bodies were urged to speed up their activities by M2M players gathered at last week’s M2M World Congress in London.

Although a number of speakers argued that standardization was needed to fuel the growth of M2M services in sectors such as energy, automotive and healthcare, Deutsche Telekom’s (Bonn, Germany) Juergen Hase said that standards bodies were not keeping pace with the fast development of the M2M market.

“At the end of the day do we come up with a de facto standard to be more agile?” said the head of operator’s M2M Competence Center.

Hase received backing from Angel David Garcia Barrio, who heads up the M2M business of Deutsche Telekom rival Telefonica (Madrid, Spain).

“Standards are a key issue but sometimes they can take five or six years to develop and M2M will be completely different over that timeframe,” he said. “Our approach is to be more pragmatic and we now have platforms that it would be impossible to recreate.”

“Even so, we can try to reduce risks – spread collaboration to other parts of the value chain and have a common framework for that collaboration,” he added.

Geoffrey Morton, the group vice president of worldwide Java sales at Oracle (Redwood City, CA, USA), was in broad agreement, arguing that without a standard underlying platform the industry risked ending up with “siloes that are not scalable and reusable”.

“The investment case would then be too painful for governments and others to contemplate,” he said.

However, Morton also reckoned M2M players should start thinking about standardization on the business as well as the technical front, saying companies in all parts of the value chain should collectively draw attention to the business benefits of Internet of Things systems.

The call for standardization also received support from the financial community, with Francois Meunier, the managing director of tech hardware equity research at Morgan Stanley (New York City, NY, USA), describing standardization as “key” during his own presentation to attendees.

“Companies don’t want to be stuck with a customized solution,” he said.

Meunier believes that standardization efforts will eventually bear fruit over 2015 and 2016 – perhaps later than many attendees gathered at the conference would have liked to hear.

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