By: Tim Young

Every time I hear the phrase machine-to-machine communications, I think about lovable movie robots.

I can’t help it.

I mean, sure. I think about a wealth of practical connected devices, too. I think of smart meters and telematics and parking meters that know when I’ve overstayed my quarter and vending machines that know that I like a touch of lemon flavor in my Diet Coke. I think about new business possibilities for communications service providers and new levels of efficiency for the enterprises they serve. I think of growth and possibility.

But I also think about R2-D2 and Wall-E and Johnny 5. I think of the beeps and boops of electronic banter between quirky little machines on the big screen.

And that’s not so strange, really. The idea of autonomous machines communicating with one another is compelling for business in the same way that it’s compelling as entertainment. There’s a certain joyous efficiency inherent in the idea of manufactured entities interacting to serve the needs of humanity, commerce, and order with minimal external prodding. While the current M2M landscape probably isn’t going to inspire any tales of adventure or unexpected love, it’s clear that it is changing what we can expect as consumers, do as enterprises, and offer as service providers.

In this issue of Pipeline, we take a look at some of the promises and pitfalls of M2M communication. We explore the trends that are driving M2M offerings and how those offerings are being differentiated from one another by service providers. In addition, we check out how CSPs are managing the security and fraud-prevention considerations of the M2M arena, plus we take a look at one of the most active sub-category of M2M: smart grid.

This month, we also bring you word from InfoVista on how Ethernet is changing the face of mobile backhaul, and how providers can maintain visibility as traffic grows more and more complex. In addition, we bring you the latest from Mobile World Congress 2012, and other news and opinion from around the industry.

So have your favorite robot companion fetch you another cup of coffee and enjoy.


Tim Young, Editor-in-Chief


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