There are a lot of new players in the M2M space, but there are also companies that have been around for a long time and have adapted to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. One such company is Digi International (News - Alert). When the company was founded in the 80s, the focus was on connecting things to computers, then its focus shifted to connecting things to networks, and then onto the wireless space. Now, it prides itself in being an end-to-end solution provider in the machine-to-machine space.
I recently had a chance to speak with Matt Jennings, vice president at Digi, about the history of the company, its differentiators and the future of the M2M space. In summing up the value proposition of the company, Jennings said, “Digi combines M2M products and services to create end-to-end solutions that drive business efficiency.” He cited many examples of how Digi drives efficiency, like enabling commercial refrigeration units to schedule services calls automatically, without human involvement. This involves hardware products, capturing data and moving that data across a network into the cloud, building applications and integrating all of this into back end systems. Truly, it is an end-to-end solution.
Jennings said that he was excited by the convergence of technology and economics. In the past, it only made sense for companies to connect high-end equipment that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But now companies are monitoring equipment valued at only a few hundred dollars, since the cost of sensors and connectivity has come down.
As prices dropped, Digi made its move toward becoming that end-to-end provider. As more and more business take advantage of M2M solutions, the need to make things simpler for the end user became more important. According to Jennings, companies want to see ROI and they would prefer to just write one check to a single provider who can provide simplicity, value and accountability.
Digi works closely with embedded M2M solutions expert Sprint (News - Alert), and Jennings feels that the relationship is quite beneficial. He stated that Sprint is truly collaborative, allowing companies like Digi to bring equipment to a lab for testing. Sprint also helps negotiate specific rates for M2M connectivity and works with Digi to determine the best rates for end users.
Jennings sees a bright future for M2M solutions due to new form factors that were not previously available. He gave several examples, including “pocket finders” that fit in the backpacks of schoolchildren that allow you to track where kids are at all times, and cell modules added to mousetraps spread throughout an enormous facility so workers don’t have to check them all manually.
Edited by Carlos Olivera