The Networked Society and a world dominated by machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity is a lot closer than you might think. But what will we do with all those connections? If you have an M2M app idea, the inaugural global M2M Challenge, with a top prize of USD 5000, could help you play a role in changing the future of business.

The emergence and huge popularity of smartphones and tablets in recent years has shown the world that subscribers and businesses take to appealing apps like fish to water.

So imagine a world where there really are no limitations on the connectivity between machines – where apps help us to capitalize on fixed- or mobile-broadband-enabled M2M connectivity for personal, leisure or professional business reasons.

As enterprises increasingly look for M2M solutions, the M2M Challenge aims to unlock the imagination of developers, entrepreneurs and those working for businesses of all sizes involved in the M2M ecosystem, regardless of where they are in the world.

The concept is simple: submit a solution in any of the five competition categories that would improve business though innovative use of M2M connectivity. Ideas must be submitted by December 31, 2012. The categories are:

  • energy
  • security
  • healthcare
  • mobility (auto and transport)
  • consumer electronics and more.

Prize winners, and those behind other selected submissions, will have the chance to network with thought leaders and key influencers in M2M development.

The winner will be announced at the CeBIT IT Trade Fair in Hanover, Germany, in March 2013. Other competition details are available on the M2M Challenge homepage.

Ericsson and Swisscom are global sponsors of the competition alongside Telit and VARTA Microbattery. The competition is being run in association with the independent intelligence platform m2mapps.

Miguel Blockstrand, Head of Ericsson’s Product Line Device Communications, says huge numbers of new business-model opportunities are being opened up by M2M-based solutions.

“The transformative power of M2M connectivity for all sectors of business and society is on such a large scale that it really does have the potential to significantly change the future,” he says. “Given the potential numbers of M2M connections – Ericsson predicts a world of more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020 – we are still at a relatively early stage.

“The smartphone revolution has shown that some of the earliest mobile apps remain the most popular, so we are pretty confident that there are fabulous M2M app ideas are out there that can make their mark on business and society. This competition will help innovators to turn their vision into reality.

“Ericsson is dedicated to enhancing the M2M ecosystem. M2M apps are a crucial element of that ecosystem, alongside high-quality and dependable connectivity. That’s why we are committed to this competition and the long-term success of the M2M market.”

Ericsson will be represented on the judging panel, to be chaired by Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of Beecham Research.