M2M is the next milestone in the “Internet of Things:” Verizon

Telecommunications vendor also expects connectivity to be a major industry trend in 2014

The “Internet of Things” is continually gaining momentum, with M2M (machine to machine) communication pegged as the next major development.

Even though it may be early days for M2M in some ways, Verizon Australia security solutions consultant, Aaron Sharp, said that there are already several innovations with the technology taking place.

“Insurance companies can put a device on your car to track your driving patterns, and in turn give you discounts and incentives based on usage,” he said.

Sharp said that there are other applications around the development of smart grids and in the automotive industry, particularly in the wake of Verizon’s acquisition of Hughes Telematics in 2012.

“One application of M2M in that space is around fleet management, where transport companies can aim to be more efficient in transporting goods,” he said.

“In the process, costs are driven down as margins are improved.”

For regular drivers, Sharp said there are applications being developed where if a vehicle breaks down, an SOS automatically goes out.

By gathering all of the M2M data, it could be used to also anticipate an upcoming component failure.

“Instead of waiting for a regular service interval, taking the car in and finding something is broken, the car could detect the subtle degrading and then book you in for a service,” Sharp said.

Move towards connectivity

What the trend around M2M is telling Sharp is that Internet connectivity is going to “take off in a big way” in the next 12 months.

“Companies have been trailing this, and 2014 is actually the year the rubber is going to hit the road and this is really going to make inroads,” he said.

Sharp adds that the “Internet of Things” is a contributor to Big Data, which is another major industry trend.

“As all of these things come online, they are generating massive amounts of data,” he said.

At the same time, Sharp admits M2M can be a significant challenge not only from a volume perspective, but also how all of that content is managed.

In the consumer space, Sharp plans to keep an eye on the developments surrounding wearable devices.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.