By Nandita Singh
Sean Horan at AT&T leads M2M business development teams located across US, Europe Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions. He has behind him almost a decade of M2M sales and product management experience and is currently Director of M2M business development, which is part of AT&T Business Solutions. In an e-mail interview with Voice&Data, he throws light on AT&T’s nascent M2M play in India.
Voice&Data: What kind of offerings AT&T has and expects to build in India?
Sean Horan: In Asia Pacific and India, we provide global multinational customers with global connectivity and application services including M2M. Similar to the US, we see M2M opportunities in virtually all industries in Asia Pacific—healthcare, retail, manufacturing, logistics, to name a few. We’re constantly looking to expand our global reach for M2M capabilities and the APAC region is definitely one of our areas of focus.
Voice&Data: What are the major areas/ projects that AT&T is interested in India market?
Sean Horan: Outside of the US, we mainly provide global connectivity and applications services to our global multinational customers (MNCs), including those MNCs in India. While we do not have any reference M2M customer in India I can share our M2M applications on a global level:
Heavy Equipment: Heavy equipment is at the heart of industries such as construction, engineering and agriculture. These large and expensive machines become even more expensive when they’re idle, broken, offsite for maintenance or in the wrong location.
Manufacturers build M2M capabilities into their tractors, combines, cranes, excavators and other heavy equipment.
The data shows manufacturers how to improve their products; and dealers or field personnel how to offer faster proactive maintenance.
Data also enables owners to monitor, protect and get the most out of these machines.
Asset Tracking: M2M can help ensure that expensive cargo remains secure and maintains its value from departure to arrival through multiple modes of transportation.
M2M solutions can determine if perishable food in a shipping container is fresh or if in danger of spoiling because of a faulty refrigeration unit.
A sensor is placed near the food to measure temperature and another is set on the cooler to ensure that it’s functioning properly.
Both sellers and buyers of such cargoes can keep track of their assets at all times across the world.
The same is true for tracking high-value cargo shipped through the air, where our innovative solutions allow owners to track location, environment and security settings.
Voice&Data: What kind of alliances does the company have in place to succeed in the India market?
Sean Horan: Working with key companies across vertical industries, AT&T bundles applications, software, hardware, and network connectivity, delivering one complete solution to customers. AT&T has relationships with a number of leading providers in the M2M space, including Axeda, OnAsset, Wipro and Sierra Wireless.
In May 2013, we entered into an alliance with India-headquartered IT services company Wipro Technologies to develop M2M solutions for various industries.
In October 2013, we announced a new global alliance with General Electric (GE). GE machines will use our network and cloud to help workers be more productive. Workers will be able to remotely track, monitor, record and operate GE machinery, virtually anywhere in the world.
In February 2014, we announced a new global alliance with IBM that will focus on building new solutions for city governments, transportation officials and midsize utility companies. Cities can better evaluate patterns and trends to improve urban planning.
Voice&Data: Can you elaborate on the differences in M2M adoption levels in the various countries around the world?
Sean Horan: Global growth will begin to catch up to growth in developed countries. Depending on which analyst you follow, the US, Japan and a couple of EU countries have been leading the wave of M2M solutions, both in the enterprise and consumer space. We will see strong growth in the number of countries deploying M2M solutions, especially in Asia and Latin America, both for local deployments and in global supply chain tracking solutions.
Voice&Data: How has the performance of the AT&T global SIM been since its launch in terms of adoption?
Sean Horan: AT&T’s global SIM and service is driving M2M adoption worldwide —it’s a game changer that sets us apart from our competitors. We maintain a large number of roaming agreements around the world to offer customers an expansive set of global M2M services. AT&T has experience helping customers with global deployments thanks to a robust service management platform and a leading number of SIMs installed in a variety of M2M device types.
The global SIM is a game changer because many global manufacturers want to monitor and analyse status of their products, and give the end-user remote control so building M2M capability into their products is key. But they don’t want to negotiate with hundreds of carriers around the world… they want to deal with just one company.
Since AT&T announced its global SIM two years ago, the number of AT&T customers using SIMs with international service is growing more than 200 percent. AT&T’s international M2M deployments jumped 27 percent in 2012 and 33 percent in 2013. We’ve negotiated M2M roaming agreements for coverage in more than 150 countries, enabling us to form strategic alliances with global leaders like IBM and GE.