Optus Wholesale to provide M2M, IoT tools and services

M2M GPS tracking services will be provided in a white-labelled package from Optus Wholesale and 2SG Wholesale, aimed for use in the mining, security, transport, and health sectors.

Optus Wholesale has announced a deal with company 2SG Wholesale to provide Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), and GPS applications and services to the wholesale reseller market.

2SG, which bills itself as a "major wholesale supplier of leading-edge GPS and machine-to-machine tracking technology and hardware", provides vehicle, asset, and personal GPS tracking across the transport, health, mining, and security industries.

Under the partnership, the two companies will integrate 3G and 4G hardware into a software monitoring package for tracking and transport applications.

"M2M is a growing market, and this new relationship creates an exciting opportunity for resellers to participate in the market," said John Castro, head of Marketing and Strategy at Optus Wholesale.

"Optus is pleased to be working with 2SG, because the M2M market represents such a terrific growth opportunity for us. M2M is still in its infancy in Australia, and is still currently under-serviced by wholesale-enabled service providers."

2SG Wholesale managing director Mark Shield said the M2M market is "rapidly growing ... the way of the future".

Earlier this week, technology industry analyst firm Telsyte predicted that M2M will be the major trend for mobile connectivity towards 5G and 2020.

According to Telsyte, the main drivers for mobile growth over the next four years will be for M2M applications and "secondary" devices, as the mobile phone market is already at saturation.

It also predicted that since M2M services have lower average revenue per user (ARPU), telecommunications providers -- particularly Telstra -- could start losing revenue towards 2020.

"This might impact the profitability of carriers," Telsyte said.

"Telstra is particularly vulnerable, as it has experienced some of the lowest net SIO [services in operation] additions from handsets ever during six month[s] to December 2015, and some 71 percent of its new services came from lower ARPU M2M connections.

"While Telsyte estimates Telstra will maintain a strong lead in the M2M market, other service providers are likely to attack their handset market share aggressively."

M2M services still only account for 5 percent of total mobile services revenue, however, according to Telsyte senior analyst for mobile services Alvin Lee.

In preparation for the changing mobile landscape, Telstra has outlined plans in the past to boost innovation and produce advancements in technology by investing in M2M and IoT technology.

"The exponential growth in data, driven by a massive shift to mobile and the Internet of Things with the ability to store and access that data in the cloud in real-time and the computing power with advanced algorithms and machine learning -- these factors together are providing the capacity to solve almost limitless problems," Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said in November last year.

Vodafone Australia has also been pushing M2M as an answer for farmers, with CEO Inaki Berroeta saying in February that the agriculture sector's potential should be tapped through telecommunications reform.

"Agriculture is one of the areas where machine-to-machine technology can make the biggest differences, but changes are needed to ensure farmers don't miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of advances in technology," Berroeta said earlier this year.

"M2M can enable farmers to work smarter and faster, such as remotely monitor and adjust soil moisture levels, or receive live updates from the paddock on their tablets."

In December, Vodafone also announced a partnership with the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) to help develop an online platform for farmers as part of an effort to "digitally transform" the agriculture industry.

The three initiatives will see the establishment of an online platform to be used by farmers; the formation of an agricultural startup incubator named Sprout; and the founding of the Digital Agriculture Service.

The online platform, developed between the NFF and Vodafone, provides farmers, agribusiness services, and consumers with a source for news, market information, weather updates, blogs, commentary, a platform for campaigns and policy development, and information on best management practice.