The “Internet of things” has gotten attention recently for several reasons. One reason is that analysts, academics and journalists, not to mention mobile service provider executives, need something new to talk about. Another reason is that machines and sensors represent the clearest way for mobile revenue and services to grow. Most people who want a mobile device now have one.

Mobile broadband for smart phones and tablets will be an important source of revenue growth for some time. Beyond that, to keep the business growing, service providers must tap a whole new class of services and devices other than “phones” or other devices people use. That means sensors, security cameras and other telemetry devices.

But there are some other benefits as well. Many telemetry applications do not use much bandwidth. So the attraction is similar to that of short message service: high margins and low bandwidth consumption. Industrial and other specialized applications also will be more churn resistant.

“A machine is not going to churn as fast as a consumer,” said Robert Mesirow, CTIA vice president. In part, that is because specific sensor applications typically will be embedded in some larger business process with scale implications. One consumer can swap a phone or a service provider without hassle. That will not be true for large sensor networks.

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