In previous posts, my colleagues laid out a great case that even if mobile networks are being used to provide communications for M2M systems, the industry should use a new addressing scheme. Using traditional telephone numbers (TNs) on a network will simply exhaust our supply of TNs, and will require costly upgrades of many systems.
But as the “numbering company,” why does Neustar care? Because the possibilities are endless in the M2M space, and we want to see it evolve and not be limited based on a 10-digit numbering space.
As an example, let’s look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). This comes to mind primarily I remember driving to LAX in my trusty rental car and getting passed at great speed by a Tesla Roadster. I was going 65 MPH, and that thing made me look like I was standing still. I guess if you can afford the Roadster, you can afford the ticket.
Thinking back to the electronics in the first car I drove (a Chevy Monza), we were happy if the AM radio worked. Fast forward to today; my car has GPS, Bluetooth, an integrated mobile phone interface and five separate inputs for musical entertainment, including satellite radio. While I have three interfaces to control all of this, I still don’t have Wi-Fi in my car to connect my laptop or my wife’s iPad. The Tesla Model S has that, but I don’t think my wife will let me upgrade just yet.
What could M2M applications add? Imagine it’s really cold, and you don’t want to sit in a freezing car while you wait for it to warm up. (We’ve all seen the commercials that show the father starting the car for his daughter from a continent away, so we know this is possible already.) But now imagine that you’re driving a PHEV on a road trip and you need to stop to eat. You (or your trusty passenger) press a button to ask for the closest place to get a quick bite, and since you want to make sure you have enough juice to get where you’re going, you search for a place that has both a gas station and charging stations.
Your cloud service responds to the query with a list of sandwich shops and/or gas stations with charging facilities. The screen in your car probably shows the price of each. All you have to do is touch the icon on the vehicle’s display, and the directions to the location are automatically calculated for you. If there’s any range anxiety issues, the car will tell you, and because you’ve already opted in, you may also get a series of coupons delivered to your mobile phone or tablet giving you a cheaper meal.
Once you’ve plugged in the car and let it charge for a while, you may get a text message from your utility service provider telling you how much of your pre-paid electric vehicle charging plan you have left. Your utility knows how much was used because the charging station is part of a network and has a billing relationship with your utility. Who knows, you might also be able to add money to the pre-paid plan directly from the car’s display. That is, unless you have the unlimited charging plan that works much like a cell phone plan; unlimited service for a particular vehicle identification number for a single monthly price.
Finally, when you’re back on the road again, you wonder how your car is doing. If you’re like most people, you’ve let the maintenance lapse. Not to worry, the telematics will let you know if there’s anything wrong, and once again–kind of like the “check engine” light of old–the car will tell you if something’s wrong. However, this time, that message will come with directions to the closest repair shop and a coupon for 20 percent off.
The cool thing about this is that most of this is either currently available or is in the works. Granted, some of it is in “what if” discussions, but anyone who’s looked at a connected car lately realizes that there’s more available than not.
While most of this communication probably happened over one or more mobile networks, not a single phone call was made. If you don’t make a phone call, do you really need to have a traditional telephone number involved?