Zain Group, a telecom service provider across eight markets in the Middle East and Africa, has announced expansion of its existing Partner Market Agreement with Vodafone, to deliver Machine-To-Machine (M2M) services to Enterprise and Government sectors across the region.
The agreement was discussed during Zain’s participation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March this year and finalized following Vodafone’s involvement in Zain’s Business Services and Solutions Expo 2015 held in Kuwait last week.
Vodafone is a leading global provider of M2M services and this partnership represents a new and important milestone in Zain’s entry into the M2M sector. The two telecommunication companies have been working together for a number of years, and this development will allow Zain to leverage Vodafone’s experience and benefit from the opportunities offered by the exponential growth in M2M and the ‘Internet of Things’ across a variety of vertical sectors such as automotive, asset tracking, and smart metering.
Vodafone’s expertise in providing smart metering solutions is a key factor underpinning the relationship. Globally, Vodafone has successful projects in India, New Zealand, across Europe, and in the UK where the company is one of the leading smart metering communications service providers.
M2M connects machines, devices, and appliances wirelessly to the Internet, transforming them into intelligent devices that exchange real time information and open up a range of possibilities for how businesses are run, how they grow, and how they keep customers happy.
The dynamic nature and application of M2M services are set to reshape the way the world does business. Gartner, a globally renowned information technology research and advisory firm has forecast a 30-fold increase in Internet-connected physical devices by 2020, up to 26 billion devices.
Scott Gegenheimer, CEO of Zain Group commented, “The roll-out of M2M services to our enterprise and individual customers is an important part of our strategic direction in creating a smarter world. The world is only just starting to appreciate the huge potential that comes from the real time monitoring and analysis of the Internet of Things and M2M traffic and the potential benefits of M2M to the communities we serve is far-reaching. Through this partnership with Vodafone, Zain will deliver M2M services to end-users in a cost-effective and scalable manner.”
Gegenheimer continued, “Zain is transforming to become a digital services provider, and the development of M2M services forms a key building block within this conversion. Our planned entry into the provision of smart city solutions and enterprise services will help us achieve our revenue growth projections, with many of these activities falling under our Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation initiative.”
Erik Brenneis, Director of M2M, Vodafone, commented, “M2M is the foundation for the Internet of Things and we are looking forward to supporting Zain and its customers to deliver world class M2M services. There is a huge opportunity for new M2M applications across a whole range of market sectors from connected cars and smart homes to mHealth.”
Cost saving remains one of the primary drivers for businesses to adopt M2M solutions as it enables them to save time and money by optimizing business processes. Benefits of M2M include enhanced energy efficiency, improving safety and security, supporting faster and better decision-making, and even enabling whole new products, services, and business models.
Put simply, M2M communications are made possible by a device (such as a sensor) that is attached to a machine to capture an event that is relayed over a network delivering data to applications. The intelligent sensors are embedded in a remote asset and capture events such as temperature, location, consumption, heart rate, stress levels, light, movement, altitude and speed. These sensors include a SIM card that is able to receive and transmit the event data wirelessly to a central server where an Application translates this data into meaningful information that can be analyzed and acted upon.
In addition, M2M communications can also be used to gain immediate feedback on how a particular remote asset is being used, which features are most popular and what problems such as errors or breakdowns typically arise. This information is useful for shortening the lead-time to an improved or updated version or for offering proactive services, thereby providing a competitive edge.