Vodafone blazes the M2M trail in latest News announcements

Two announcements from the European mobile giant Vodafone show its commitment to M2M and networks dedicated to machines. On June 15 Vodafone announced plans to acquire the Italian company Cobra Automotive Technologies for €1.49 per share in cash, valuing Cobra’s ordinary share capital at €145 million. A few days later Vodafone announced that its existing agreement with DOCOMO would be expanded to address the delivery of M2M services to the global enterprise sector. The Cobra acquisition is the most significant in that it gives Vodafone a ready-made telematics portfolio that can be upsold to its corporate clients. Buying Cobra is wise as there are few household names in telematics and one, Masternault has “gone,” already as it has a partnership with Telefonica. Cobra is one of the market leaders of security and telematics to the automotive and insurance industries with operations in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The group also has a diverse customer base, selling a range of services such as telematics, usage-based insurance, and vehicle tracking to vehicle manufacturers, dealerships and after-market customers. The DOCOMO partnership is also significant- in PR speak it “will allow both parties to benefit from the opportunity offered by the Internet of Things and M2M services across a variety of vertical sectors.” The Vodafone and DOCOMO deal can be seen in a number of different ways- at its simplest it is merely the extension of an existing cooperative agreement. Reading more into it, it can be seen as a sign of the times- an indication that the Internet of Things is nearly here and that operators are taking it seriously.