Search engine giant Google has already become a model for imitation. Every company wants to duplicate its success and power. Every company wants to cooperate with Google, regardless of how. When Google chooses a company as a worthy partner for some activity, the economic value of this recognition is considerable, at least on paper.
More than a few Israeli companies have teamed up with Google over the past decade, mainly Internet companies. The latest is Telit Communications plc (AIM:TCM), the world's leading machine-to-machine (m2m) company and one of the few Israeli companies listed in London. m2m technology makes it possible to transfer information between two electronic systems through mobile communications (mainly cellular) without human intervention. One example of this is connecting an electricity meter in a private consumer's home to an Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) server, which enabled IEC to read the meter data, and even to control the amount of electricity consumed in that home, thereby providing control of total nationwide energy consumption and rendering the construction of additional power stations unnecessary.
The uses of m2m extend far beyond electricity, however. In the Internet era, or more specifically, the Internet of Things (IoT), as it is now called, every device, system, and service will be hooked up to the Internet, and m2m technology like that of Telit is slated to be in integral part of this revolution. As part of this, Telit offers its customers cloud computing services in the framework of its m2mAIR service platform.
This is where Google comes in. Telit announced last week that it would cooperate with Google in running a competition called the IoT Big Data Challenge, the first competition of its kind, designed to expedite innovation in the IoT era. In this competition, Internet and mobile application developers are being invited to submit innovative applications based on information that can be retrieved together from Google's cloud and Telit's cloud. Cooperation between the two companies is designed to help realize the potential of IoT.
This cooperation is not yet commercial, but Telit founder and CEO Oozi Cats says that it is the first step towards Google's recognition that Telit's m2m technology is vital in order to realize the potential of IoT. "Google lacks a presence in what is called the last mile," Cats explains. Last mile is a concept in the telecommunications and Internet industry that describes where telecommunications reaches the end consumer in his home. "Google keeps track of us through a smartphone when we are mobile, through a desktop computer when we are in the office, and through Google Earth when we are in a car. When we get home, however, it has a problem."
"Recognition of us as the world's leading m2m player"
Cats mentions that in 2009, Google tried to get a foothold in the last mile through the Google PowerMeter. As part of its Google Energy business, it tried to help the end consumer monitor his home electricity consumption, as part of its efforts to educate people in the use of renewable energy. This activity was unsuccessful, among other things because power companies were not eager to share information about electricity consumption with Google. Google PowerMeter activity was discontinued in 2011.
Google did not give up. At the beginning of this year, it acquired Nest, which developed a smart thermostat and smart smoke detectors, for $3.2 billion. In essence, Nest is trying to introduce the smart home, and its connection to Google is another step in realizing the potential of IoT. "Google isn't making the mistake of thinking that it can only enter every home through Nest," Cats explains. "That's why they're cooperating with us. Telit's cellular module, the m2m unit, is in effect the last mile. Theoretically, this information sharing, whether it's received in the module and located on our cloud, or whether it's on Google's cloud, can serve as an excellent basis for new applications, such as turning off the alarm before you get home." Indeed, in the competition, which will be financed by Google, Google is inviting applications developers to try to invent applications that will improve business transformation and benefit mankind, among other things. "We're only at the viability stage of the idea, but Google's recognition of us as the world's leading m2m player can be very important down the road," Cats concludes.
Telit's share is currently traded at a market cap of $433 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 30, 2014
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014