5 Solution Providers Placing Bets On 'Internet Of Things'

Getting In While It's Hot

Much of a solution provider's success depends on its ability to jump quickly on emerging industry trends. While machine-to-machine (M2M) isn't necessarily a new concept in the IT world, it's a concept that's been thrust into the spotlight recently as industries ranging from federal government to health care embrace M2M communications and the concept of the Internet of Things.

Here are five solution providers that got into the M2M game ahead of the curve -- and are poised to reap the benefits as a result.

Sherlock Systems

Sherlock Systems may have kicked off its 27 years of business as a systems builder, but today the Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based company is seeing more and more growth from machine-to-machine communications.

Sherlock Systems President Dave Sallander said nearly 70 percent of the equipment shipped by Sherlock Systems today can communicate back to another device.

Sallander said Sherlock Systems' DNA in the machine-to-machine space traces back to the earlier days of RFID tags, which Sherlock Systems helped deploy for customers looking to do asset tracking or monitor products as they move through the supply chain. What's more, Sallander said Sherlock Systems' long history in the digital signage space has been a solid foundation for machine-to-machine deployments.

TeraNova Consulting Group

TeraNova Consulting Group's M2M expertise stems from the solution provider's years of experience working with wireless WAN, kiosk telecommunications and digital signage.

Natasha Royer-Coons, managing director at TeraNova, said the true value-add delivered by TeraNova in the M2M space is its ability to provide customers with end-to-end, turnkey solutions that TeraNova can then remotely monitor and manage.

"We said, 'We better have the logistics to configure this so that it's plug-and-play, and that we are able to monitor and manage it,' " Royers-Coon said. "The big thing about M2M is you have to design it in such a way that it's robust and reliable and has high uptime."

Looking ahead, Royers-Coon said she sees major M2M opportunities for San Diego-based TeraNova in verticals such as transportation and oil and gas.

Digital Highway Wireless Solutions

Digital Highway (DH) Wireless Solutions, a Battle Creek, Mich.-based solution provider, has had its eye on machine-to-machine (although it may not have been called that at the time) pretty much since day one. The company's roots are in connecting onboard computer systems (OBCs) in work vehicles to cellular phones, a service it started providing back in the early 2000s.

Now, DH Wireless Solutions' rich ecosystem of partners -- which includes major service providers, M2M application vendors and hardware OEMs -- makes it an ideal fit for providing customers with end-to-end M2M solutions.

"There are three legs to [M2M]," said Bob Mellema, president. "There is always going to be a piece of hardware, then you've got carrier services, and then some type of application that's going to tie it all together."


Rochester N.Y.-based solution provider Integron has a taken a unique approach to M2M, marrying M2M technologies with its IT services expertise to offer M2M and wireless managed services. To do this, Integron has teamed up with major carriers T-Mobile and Sprint, but also more niche players such as Wyless, a Boston-based network operator and M2M managed services provider. Integron primarily targets its M2M managed services -- which include everything from helping with M2M deployments to managing the wireless networks that support them -- at the health-care industry, along with enterprises grappling with asset management.

"This relationship will help customers streamline their M2M solution design and implementation cycle," Bryan Lubel, president of Integron, said in a statement announcing Integron's partnership with Wyless in 2011. "Our clients are asking for a comprehensive managed service model, as they begin to understand the complexity of the value chain and the resources required to design, implement and sustain M2M projects."

True Wireless

True Wireless, a San Ramon, Calif.-based solution provider, was founded in 2004 with a keen focus on helping enterprise customers deploy and manage wireless solutions. Along the way, True Wireless got into the M2M game, offering solutions related to vehicle telematics, mobile time clocks, and even creating its own mobile applications for custom device clients.

Today, True Wireless is a major Sprint Business Solutions Partner, and partners with companies including ZyXel Communications, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard. Much of True Wireless' DNA is rooted in the mobile device management (MDM) space, where it partners with MDM vendors AirWatch and MobileIron.