The ongoing development of Telekom Austria's M2M business is leading the company in directions it did not foresee when it launched the division 12 months ago, said CEO Hannes Ametsreiter this week.
"There are so many areas where you can put a SIM," he told Total Telecom during Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam on Wednesday. "We are entering new areas where we wouldn't have expected to see an opportunity."
When Telekom Austria Group M2M was launched in September 2011, the company envisioned that it would function as a business-to-business (B2B) operation, but signs are beginning to emerge that suggest it could in future find itself getting closer to consumers' homes. Ametsreiter explained that the company is in talks with equipment vendors about developing smart grid products.
"Probably next year we will make a decision on whether we can enter the market," he said.
Telekom Austria M2M already targets the energy and utilities sector, but specifically with solutions that address logistical issues, data transmission, and reporting and alarming for service providers.
Now the operator could be gearing up to address end users more directly, and is even considering putting its sizeable domestic contingent of field engineers to work on behalf of its energy provider clients, visiting homes and fixing issues with smart meters, for instance.
"Utilities see the benefit of Telekom Austria taking on this role," said Ametsreiter.
In addition, Ametsreiter also provided an anecdote about traders in London placing bets on crop yields from plantations in Brazil based on data garnered from M2M sensors that monitor the health of said crops.
"M2M gives rise to lots of interesting opportunities," he noted.
Ametsreiter said he expects double-digit growth at the M2M business for 2012.
"The business is very much volume driven," he said. "When you have volume then you have sustainability."
Telekom Austria has set a target of more than 10 million active M2M connections by 2015.
"The number of SIM cards is a very hard measure of success that we use...revenue and profit follows that," said Ametsreiter. He revealed that Telekom Austria is currently generating average revenue per M2M SIM of around $2 per month, "depending on the solution".