Sprint's innovation center

Sprint opened its M2M Collaboration Center in Burlingame, Calif., in October, and has partnered with 30 companies, including Ericsson, Sierra Wireless and Axeda. Twenty more companies will be announced within the next month or so, said Russell Mosburg, the director of solution engineering for Sprint's M2M business group.

Sprint, which has had a dedicated M2M group since 2009, found that a lot of companies did not know much about how to wirelessly enable potential M2M devices, Mosburg said.

"What we encourage is, if you have an idea, let's talk; if you have a concept, let's drive it to a prototype; if you have a prototype, let's plug it in and see if it works," he said. "The intent then is to have a very open, collaborative environment. We're just really the host."

The facility has three sections, including a 25,000-square-foot raised factory and CDMA 1X, 3G or WiMAX RF chambers, where companies can test their solutions and tap into hundreds of APIs. There also is a solutions showcase to demonstrate things like wireless modem modules for asset tracking, digital signage, video security and smart grids, as well as a center for partners to brainstorm and put on presentations and seminars.

Mosburg said he could not publicly name any solutions produced as a result of the center because of non-disclosure agreements, but noted that "one of the known industry modem OEMs brought their new 4G concept into the facility, and over a three-week period tested out multiple scenarios." Mosburg added that the vending machines at the center are wirelessly enabled. "We're actually drinking our own Kool-Aid, if you will," he said.


Sprint's innovation center