M2M APPS: How would you define M2M in simple words and what good can it do?
HEO JINA: M2M is a technology that is beyond remotely controlling devices. The devices are automatically operated, collecting and analyzing data, by receiving instructions from a central computer, according to the commands that are entered in advance. It is an essential technology for smart life and work. As objects send out information through sensory devices, it becomes possible to predict not only natural disasters, such as floods, storms, heavy snow or earthquakes, but also man-made disasters, such as fires, explosions or car accidents. In other words, it may become possible to prevent accidents like in the movie ‘Minority Report’.
M2M APPS: What are the reasons why the leading telecommunication service providers are working on M2M-related businesses?
HEO JINA: From a global perspective, telecommunication service providers’ sales revenue from voice service has dropped. Also, in many developed countries including Korea, penetration rate of mobile phones has reached, or even went beyond, 100%. Therefore, the needs to create new market have increased. Local and other global telecommunication service providers are now pursuing a beyond-telecommunication strategy, and are trying to develop a new business model that combines telecommunication service and traditional businesses. As various connected devices, such as smart phones, e-book readers and satellite navigation devices, are introduced and high-performance wireless network technology becomes more advanced in order to provide higher data processing speed and capacity, problems that had emerged with high-volume data traffic are solved. Also, as telecommunication module price drops, M2M market becomes a new business model in the market.
M2M APPS: What is the correlation between acquiring 20 million local smart phone users and the growth of M2M market?
HEO JINA: In the information communication technology area, the core of communication service is rapidly shifting from voice to data, and data traffic is dramatically increasing. With this trend, it is expected that venture boom would be triggered along with the emergence of new types of business opportunities, as it was in the late 1990s with the venture boom caused by rapid diffusion of wired Internet. With increased adaptation of cloud computing and M2M, new business opportunities will be created. M2M has been an market with high interest. As it becomes possible to control monitoring of object networks from a web environment, and actual management methodology is introduced, various case studies will be introduced.
M2M APPS: What are the industry areas with the brightest M2M future?
In the early 1990s, when M2M was first introduced, it was adapted mainly in B2B market, such as telematics, remote monitoring, location-tracking services and POS (Point of Sales) systems. In the past, many thought M2M was narrowly linked to remote controlling and telematics, and the related market was very limited; however, in the past few years, the M2M-related market has rapidly grown to become an area of interest not only in Korea but worldwide. As the M2M market steadily grows, and the technology is adapted in various industries, customers’ demands are now shifting from professional areas to more practical areas related to daily life.
Most widely provided M2M services are telematics, remote monitoring, logistics and distribution, security and ground control, medical service and asset management. With increased usage of devices for general consumers, the technology is now expanding to the consumer market, such as U-health, e-book and smart home. At present, major areas where M2M is adapted are automotive telematics, logistics management, intellectual monitoring service, remote asset management system, POS and security. M2M is expected to grow rapidly in location tracking in the public service market. By further adopting the technology in the related field, it is expected to contribute to public benefits, such as prevention of crime and protection of socially weak people.
M2M APPS: What needs to be improved to increase local market size?
HEO JINA: As many companies are involved in the value chain, there is a conflict of interest. Lack of standardization has led to increased development costs and problem of interoperability among service providers. Therefore, in order to really grow the M2M industry in Korea, cooperation among concerned parties is essential, and government policy to support industry growth is required. In particular, as the M2M market size increases dramatically with the expansion of broadcasting telecommunication convergence services locally and globally, it is necessary to come up with regulations and legal procedures that are suitable for the fast-changing future broadcasting and telecommunication environment to vitalize the M2M market. With such policy support, resources would be more actively recycled to prevent overlapping costs that would encourage new investments and further create new business opportunities.
M2M APPS: What are your suggestions for market vitalization?
Despite the growing importance of M2M, the creation of the ecosystem is still at an early stage. The market for M2M devices and module is still relatively small, with only a few vendors dominating the market, causing a high royalty in the market. Also, because most M2M related businesses are operated as consortiums led by 3 telecommunication vendors, the market becomes more closed and disncourages new entrants. Therefore, related professional ventures and SMBs depend on pilot projects led by the government, further weakening their own competitiveness.
Also, there are limitations in vitalizing professional M2M vendors, for network connection, distribution and device authentication are provided by telecommunication service providers only. Therefore, it is time for the government to diversify the market by supporting MVNO businesses, and creating a competitive market by encouraging business partnership and an open market.