SAN DIEGO -- CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 -- Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications is hands down the next area of growth and excitement in wireless, according to the CEOs of the biggest three operators in the U.S.
It could be because they were trying to avoid more controversial subjects, but M2M connected devices were the theme of the day for the opening wireless operator keynotes at CTIA . According to CTIA President Steve Largent, who got things started Tuesday, wireless penetration in the U.S. has reached 104 percent as total wireless devices sold have passed the U.S. population for the first time. (See CTIA 2011: Sprint & AT&T Spar in San Diego.)
That's one reason the wireless chiefs are so jazzed about M2M for the next billion connections. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) CEO Ralph de la Vega, Verizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Dan Hesse gave the rather stock M2M excitement chats, but each had some interesting new examples to share. Here’s three:
In-vehicle cameras: Insurance companies can install a connected camera that can be installed in your (or most likely your kids’) car to track how fast the car is moving and catch any distracted driving behavior. Sprint’s Hesse said this has shown to reduce unsafe driving by 70 percent.
Wearable devices: AT&T’s de la Vega said this is the next frontier for M2M for everything from fire fighters monitoring their body temperatures to athletes tracking their performance, or newborns for parents’ peace of mind. The opportunities are enormous, he said.
Robots: Verizon’s Mead told attendees about a teen who can’t go to school owing to immune system issues but is able to operate a wireless robot who goes to school for him and connects him to his peers and his course work. De la Vega also talked up robotics, noting that last time he was at AT&T’s Foundry Innovation Center, it was overrun with the open-source, network-connected robots.
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