Photos: MWC Pops With Bursty Devices

9:00 AM -- BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- Smartphones aren't the only things getting lots of attention here this week. Machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, linking everything from dog collars to bananas to grain silos to a network, are everywhere … and I mean everywhere. These "bursty, not thirsty" devices seemed to be in all the booths, in every demo, and were the subject of many conversations. Click the image below for a slideshow that illustrates a few examples:

Every wireless operator in the world is looking to connect "any device with a current" to add incremental revenue to their network, according to Glenn Lurie, head of emerging devices at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). The carrier announced a global SIM card that would let its 15 billion connected devices remain connected to AT&T's network when they go abroad. It's also showing off a new international connected home service it is wholesaling to service providers around the globe, and is likely to get launched in the U.S. as well. (See Dan's Guide to the Home of the Future.)

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) also announced a partnership with Telit to make it easier for small developers to connect to the network.

These are just two examples, but the interest in the technology is obvious. M2M is all extra revenue with little network disruption for the wireless operators. The GSM Association (GSMA) , for one, says M2M sales could reach $2.5 trillion by 2020, with $1.2 trillion of that going to mobile operators.

Consumers may disagree when they get all their connected bills one day, but from a wireless operator standpoint, there's little reason not to invest in M2M. At least that's the impression I get here at the hyper-connected Fira.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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