Moving online with your products

The ability to be able to manage mobile card payment transactions in a fast and secure way is becoming vital for many involved in the retail sector

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In the near future all products will inevitably be online, Baard Eilertsen, CEO at Maingate, one of the worldís leading independent M2M providers goes even further, saying: “This year I say that all products will be online”.

M2M (machine to machine) is shifting from merely being an exciting technology to becoming a business-critical operational component of many companies. And today a global M2M network is being created. Maingate was founded in 1998 in Karlskrona, a city in southern Sweden renowned for its telecommunications and technology industry. The company was involved with M2M from the very start. At that time, several years before the dotcom era got underway, the technology itself was the focus of attention. But although many thought it was interesting, there were few who saw any real commercial benefit.

Today there is a different perspective. As one of the worldís first providers of global M2M communication, Maingate has been able to develop its business during the past year despite the economic downturn, and has seen an increased demand for the company’s solutions. CEO Baard Eilertsen says: “We anticipated that our customers would have a difficult time in 2009 and we quickly rearranged our business models to support our customers in meeting the challenges that lay ahead of them. As an example, one customer lost 60 percent of its market within just two months. By increasing the focus on our customersí business Maingate has managed to assist them throughout the turmoil. This meant that we were able to grow our business despite all doomís day predictions.”

One of Maingateís more important achievements during 2009 was the signing of an agreement with Telvent Energia to deliver communication services to the 600,000 electricity meters in Finland for energy company Fortum. “With over half of all electricity meters in Sweden communicating through our services, it is important to establish ourselves in new markets. The Finnish project confirms that we have the capability. We are now investigating several other markets to help other customers to achieve the optimum benefit from our technology2, explains Eilertsen.

Point of sale payment cards
The use of payment cards is growing substantially and businesses that sell goods or services need to access this facility. The ability to be able to manage mobile card payment transactions in a fast and secure way is becoming vital for many involved in the retail sector. Wireless card payment transactions have been available to taxi, ferry and ice cream van operators for years. Today the technology encompasses parking meters, restaurants, shops, ticket purchases and vending machines that are online via M2M – and the areas of application are always growing.

Maingate senior vice president Patrick Isacson comments: “The demands on mobile communication are naturally high when it concerns technical performance, coverage and availability; that is why many players within the sector choose to be online with their products via Maingate. We understand the specific needs and demands of this market and also collaborate with many of the leading suppliers within this rapidly growing sector.”

Focus on customers’ business
The ability to focus on the technologyís business benefits has become Maingateís formula for success. Baard Eilertsen continues: “There was a time when M2M was considered to be something out of a science fiction story but with time it has become not just desirable but even critical to our customers’ business.” Today investments are made with great caution and return of investment must be even quicker. This means that customers do not just want a product; they also want access to the information it generates, either to grow their business or to improve operational efficiency. For some companies this means around the clock, regardless of the world location. Maingate makes this possible with a mobile infrastructure where the products both perform their task and are connected at the same time.

Patrick Isacson: “Maingate’s solution builds on proven telecoms technology. What is new is how we managed to create benefits for customers in their operations by focusing on the vertical competence within the organisation to exploit its potential value even better. Maingate’s business vision is to create value for our customers through a focused industrial offering and innovative use of wireless technology. Regardless of where a customerís products are located, Maingate ensures they are online.”

M2M as green technology
In Maingate’s quest to prove the benefits of M2M as a business enabler, it has also started to explore its potential to deliver green benefits. Baard Eilertsen explains: “In delivering M2M communication technology globally we can also see ways it can be used to help the environment. Maingate is currently developing services that range from fleet management solutions for low carbon emission transport to consumer oriented products and services for energy efficiency.”

Patrick Isacson concludes: “We probably have the worldís smartest customers. They understand the value of having access to information, re-gardless of whether itís about making an existing process more effective or creating a completely new business opportunity. M2M is becoming a tool to create winning economic benefits. We think that’s smart.”

For more information write to Wireless Maingate Nordic AB, Hitechbuilding 93, SE-101 52 Stockholm , Telephone: +46 8 641 74 00 or visit