Anyone who keeps an eye on Vodafone won't have helped but notice a couple of announcements in the last week on strategic partnerships that big red has signed with Hyundai (Monday) and Bosch (Tuesday). This on top of an agreement in February with Intel.
Naturally, all of the announcements are light on detail, talking about strategic exploratory partnerships and the like. However, it does point to a few things. Firstly, the rest of the world is starting to take an interest in M2M. It's not just the MNOs who are pushing this. Companies that make stuff, like Bosch and Hyundai, are genuinely interested. Secondly, it's automotive and consumer electronics that are first off the mark. OK, not quite first as transport and logistics and security applications have been around for a while. However, the more B2B2C segments will tend to be faster to move. We shouldn't underestimate the role of the consumer in driving M2M both in terms of their active adoption or passive buy-in (e.g. pay-as-you-drive insurance). I've touched on this before in a previous post, but I'm sure it's one I'll come back to again and again: the consumerisation of M2M.
We heard this week at CEBIT from Vodafone Germany CCO Jan Geldemacher that the company expects M2M to account for 10% of data revenue in 5 years. Not a wildly ambitious target that, as data only accounted for 17% of VF DE's revenue last quarter. So 1.7%. I think we can set our sights a little higher than that.