Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:00am PST
Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI) has opened a wireless innovation centre in downtown Vancouver that aims to help companies understand how machine-to-machine (M2M) technology works and how it can help their business.
M2M is any machine that communicates with other machines wirelessly, either through cellular networks or wireless Internet.
Some businesses that ship high-value goods are now using a device called Flat Track, for example – a thin tracking device that can be inserted into containers or boxes of high-value goods in the event the goods are stolen. It provides better tracking than the telematics provided by transportation companies.
Smart meters are another example of M2M communication.
Although Rogers has been working with businesses for years on M2M, it believes many businesses still aren’t sure what the communication can do for them. To fill this gap, Rogers has opened a number of innovation centres, including the one that opened last week in the Wavefront building at 400 – 1055 West Hastings Street.
“It’s kind of hard to take the show to the customer,” said Mansell Nelson, Rogers’ vice-president of advanced business solutions. “We can bring our customers to see it.”
There are literally hundreds of potential applications, said Nelson. One area of M2M that he expects to be massively profitable is the auto industry.
“Most cars after 2015 are going to be wirelessly connected,” said Nelson. “Rogers has made a big investment in this area. We believe it’s going to be a big part of our business going forward.
“In the next three to five years, we expect to have as many M2M things on our network as we will handsets.”
Companies working out of Wavefront benefit from the Rogers innovation centre because many are working in the M2M space.
One such company is Victoria startup Colony Networks, which landed a contract with BestBuy to provide trouble-shooting analytics for the company’s electronics vending machines.