MWC 2013 Ericsson has signed a deal with SAP to collaborate on bringing about the rise of the machines, with ongoing help from Gemalto, by combining into an unstoppable Megazord capable of communicating with 50 billion acolytes.
The combination of Ericsson and SAP, announced today, will see SAP's software managing embedded applications connected over mobile networks provisioned by Ericsson's servers, using Gemalto's Machine Identity Module (MIM - like a SIM only cross-network), the whole thing comprising a Software as a Service (cloud-based) offering for anyone who wants to talk to a lot of machines using a cellular network but dosen't want to muck about creating applications, running servers or even committing to a single network operator to do so.
The latter aspect is taken care of by Gemalto, who's MIM already appears (within a SIM) in the latest Lenovo tablet. The MIM-in-a-SIM comes stuck into new tablets and stores details of one operator, for bootstrapping, but can then download credentials for other operators (signed by Gemalto) to switch networks without changing the physical chip. That's nice for a Lenovo, who can sell connectivity within the tablet interface, but its even nicer for someone running an M2M network who might want to switch network operators.
Right now they can't, as demonstrated by General Motors who this morning announced that cars connected to its (American) OnStar service would, from next year, come connected to AT&T rather than Verizon, but the cars already on the road will have to remain with Verizon for the duration as they have Verizon credentials embedded and no MIM to help them switch.
Which does, again, beg the question of why the network operators are so supportive of the technique exemplified by the MIM, helping Apple push through the standard and proudly supporting Lenovo and Dell in their early deployments, but that's because they see M2M as an even bigger cow to be milked.
The much-discussed Internet of Things will apparently hook up 50 billion devices around the world, enough to make the most-cynical telco executive drool a little. But those devices don't just require radio networks and distribution of secure credentials, they're also going to need 50 billion database records to track them; record all that data they're generating; and issue commands to make them do all the clever things on which we'll come to rely in the next few decades. That's where SAP comes in.
The deal will cover all the important communications, as SAP's man for mobility Sanjey Poonen put it:
We'll see man talking to machine
machine talking to man
and machine talking to machine
...leaving out the only mobile communications currently generating a profit - humans talking to other humans - but there's nothing sexy about that. ®