SAN DIEGO – Verizon Wireless is extending its tendrils into the machine-to-machine (M2M) space with a freshly inked deal with Qualcomm.
The as-yet-unnamed company will target the expanding M2M market in several vertical industries, including health care, utilities and consumer electronics.
Although the firms have not yet prioritized which segment will be their primary focus, wireless health care products and President Obama’s smart grid initiative offer fertile ground for new services.
Calling the joint venture the “ultimate partnership for M2M,” Verizon’s Tony Lewis said at Qualcomm’s Smart Services conference here, that the deal “bodes well for all the verticals that are in the M2M space.”
Breaking into the M2M space in health care and utilities presents some challenges, however. Security and privacy requirements are paramount in the health care space, and utilities require an exceptional level of security and reliability from the wireless networks they use to manage the electric grid.
Many utilities currently manage their own networks instead of outsourcing their M2M efforts to carriers and have been historically reticent to send out critical tasks to outside providers.
However, Lewis says that may change as they seek to deploy their next-generation networks. The joint venture will have the backing of Verizon’s network expertise and Qualcomm’s billions of dollars worth of research and development. Lewis believes that together, these capabilities will convince utilities of the joint venture’s competency. They’ll see that “we’re there, we’re ubiquitous and [the network] is already in place,” he says.
Though the companies declined to provide financial information about the deal, Qualcomm and Verizon will have an equal stake in the stand-alone venture. Qualcomm’s Steve Pazol will lead the effort; he previously served as vice president of Global Smart Services at Qualcomm.
Though exact details of the deal were limited, one feature of the joint venture will be the use of cloud computing to track assets and automate device provisioning on wireless networks.