Sprint Pushes Telemetry

Ryan Slack, senior director of business solutions programs at Sprint PCS, characterized PCS Telemetry Services as a high-speed wireless connectivity solution for machine-to-machine data transfers that could provide lucrative incremental business opportunities for solution providers.

"This is a very indirect-focused effort because we are only a small part of the puzzle," Slack said. "PCS will go after telemetry opportunities through channel partners. They would be the ones buying the modules and developing applications and integrating [them] into their solutions."

>>%A0 'This is a very indirect-focused effort because we are only a small part of the puzzle.' -- RYAN SLACK, SPRINT PCS

Slack said the effort combines the Sprint PCS CDMA network; modules developed by companies such as Novatel Wireless, San Diego, and AirLink Communications, Fremont, Calif.; and applications developed for the modules by solution providers.

Several mobile solution providers, including Commerciant, Houston, have begun developing telemetry solutions that run over Sprint PCS' network. Commerciant has, among other things, developed a mobile point-of-sale business application suite that includes a mobile credit card acceptance device.

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"Everything we are doing is very pointed toward developing mobile commerce solutions, and we needed the best coverage we could get to go after that marketplace," said John Olsen, vice president of business development at Commerciant. "Sprint is everywhere."

Wireless Data Research Group predicts that wireless telemetry will be a $1.8 billion business this year and will grow to $2.8 billion by 2007.

"This is a big opportunity for solution providers, not only because of the market projections for telemetry, but a lot of people in the CDPD [cellular digital packet data] world are interested in a telemetry solution," Slack said. "And, on our network, we can offer them a solution with faster data speeds and greater flexibility."

CDPD is a digital wireless transmission system considered to be an enhancement to the existing analog cellular network. Slack said the Sprint PCS network is five to seven times faster than CDPD.

"With our network, you can now wirelessly add video images and not be constrained to having a very narrow pipe that can only handle very small batches of text," he said.

Sprint PCS is targeting vertical markets including point of sale, ATMs and transportation, Slack said.