I saw this on the GigaOm network about Qualcomm and Verizon forming a company to be called nPhase. Actually Qualcomm bought a company in the M2M (machine-to-machine) space in 2006 called nPhase. Prior to that purchase, I used to have regular communications with Steve Pazol, nPhase president about what M2M meant. The origin of the term in our space meant using cellular networks as a broadband for automatic communications from one machine to another–say a remote machine calling its creator with news or problems. This was promoted by cell phone manufacturers looking for new markets for their boards and service providers hoping to sell lots of unused bandwidth.

It never took off. Think about how reliable your cell phone connectivity was in the early part of this century–OK, just a few years ago. It’s better now, but still not greatly reliable. Think of the expense of cell phone minutes versus WiFi connected eventually to the Internet.

I continue to look at cellular technology as just one little piece of a broader M2M (actually, the founder and editor of a magazine devoted to the space just lamented the demise of the name) that can use any one of a number of connectivity options. Smart phones, by the way, are actually driving up WiFi usage–not what the Verizons of the world wanted. If WiMax comes to the US, that would be another cell challenge. But I hope Steve, who remains as head of this new entity, is able to carve out a market there. Connectivity is a good thing.

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