NTT DoCoMo covers 200 countries with M2M communications

The connections can be used for management of vehicle or construction machinery fleets

Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo is working with Jasper Wireless to offer M2M (machine-to-machine) services around the world and to allow enterprises to manage them using a Web interface.

For operators, M2M services are a potential savior as revenue from voice and messaging is contracting, and just like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and Telefónica, NTT DoCoMo wants a piece of the pie. M2M refers to technologies that allow systems to communicate with other devices and applications. A device -- for example, a sensor or meter -- captures an event, which is then relayed to an application that translates the event into meaningful information, which could be an item that needs to be restocked, according to research company Markets and Markets.

NTT DoCoMO will offer M2M connectivity in 200 countries, which enterprises can then use as a foundation for management of vehicle or construction machinery fleets.

The associated Web interface can be used for real-time monitoring of data usage and communication fees, remote activation and deactivation of communication lines, and basic diagnosis of failures, the operator said.

"It is an interesting launch because most of the large Japanese service providers have been quite insular in their approach until now. This represents the first international push for a Japanese carrier," said Andrew Brown, director for enterprise research at Strategy Analytics.

Automotive, health care and utilities are stand-out areas in the M2M sector, where there is clearly a need for operators like NTT DoCoMo and others to provide ubiquitous connectivity, according to Brown.

Regulation, standardization and consolidation will help drive the popularity of M2M connectivity and services. Regulation helps stimulate the market, while standardization of things like APIs and consolidation will eventually make it easier to develop and launch services, Brown said.

NTT DoCoMO and Jasper originally announced a partnership in February.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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