Verizon, Qualcomm see future in machine to machine

US mobile operator Verizon Wireless has teamed up with Californian silicon vendor Qualcomm to form a joint venture focused on machine to machine (M2M) communications and ‘smart services’.

The joint venture, which is as yet unnamed, will be equally owned by the two firms and will have offerings targeted at a wide variety of market segments, including healthcare, manufacturing, utilities, distribution and consumer products.

M2M, otherwise known as telematics, does not yet feature prominently in the business plan of most mobile network operators.

In the future it might be that M2M helps to realise the vision long championed by industry experts and leaders alike that everything in our lives will be connected. Never mind dimming the lights and popping on some mood music, we were told that our cars would be able to find their own way home and our fridges would be automatically ordering food from the supermarket when we started to run low. But the truth of the matter when it comes to telematics, at least for now, is much more pragmatic: supply chain reporting, fleet management, electronic point of sales devices, remote metering for utilities, offender monitoring and security are all popular, if low key, machine to machine implementations.

The move follows a similar announcement from Verizon Wireless investor Vodafone, which is launching a global service platform to help companies deploy and manage large, wireless M2M projects.

Vodafone and Verizon have a technology sharing and development agreement with Softbank and China Mobile under the umbrella of the Joint Innovation Lab.

The Verizon/Qualcomm joint venture will be led by Steve Pazol, who previously served as vice president of global smart services at Qualcomm.

Verizon developer community open for business

In related news, Verizon also threw open the doors of its developer community, with the launch of its developer portal ahead of the introduction of the V Cast app store.

John Stratton, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, said the Verizon app store will provide a streamlined testing and certification process with the goal of having applications launched within 14 days of submission; offer a simple click through agreement to end users of apps; will give developers the opportunity to set their own prices for applications; and will make it easier to develop for BREW – a Qualcomm technology.

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