Verizon CTO: Industry needs standard M2M platform

NEW ORLEANS--Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) CTO Tony Melone said the industry needs a common, shared architecture for machine-to-machine connections, arguing that the industry's current approach toward the issue has created fragmentation.

Verizon Communications CTO Tony Melone

Melone

"That model [of proprietary approaches to M2M] cannot scale," Melone said, explaining that embedded services like OnStar and Amazon's Kindle ereader each require a separate and specific implementation in order to function.

Instead, Melone called for a horizontal platform for M2M services that would handle device activations and monitoring, among other services. Such a layer would allow M2M service providers to quickly and easily plug their offerings into a carrier network.

Melone, who spoke at an ATIS-sponsored panel here at the CTIA Wireless 2012 conference, was joined by AT&T's (NYSE:T) John Donovan.

"Machine-to-machine is going to be a very, very powerful thing," said Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T's technology and network operations.

Indeed, Melone isn't the only one in the industry calling for a standard M2M service layer. In January, a handful of major standards organizations--ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TIA, TTA and TTC--announced they will embark on the creation of a "common cost-efficient, easily and widely available M2M Service Layer, which can be readily embedded within various hardware and software." The groups said at the time they will meet in order to form "a global initiative for M2M Standardization."

In the United States, each wireless carrier approaches the M2M segment with a slightly different slant. Verizon uses the nPhase service layer for M2M connections; Verizon in February purchased the remaining 50 percent of nPhase, its joint venture for machine-to-machine business it formed with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) in 2009. AT&T Mobility, for its part, uses Jasper Wireless for its M2M connections.

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