John Moore, sales and marketing director at Alpha Micro, said the new distributor agreement covers embedded and 3G M2M modules from Sierra Wireless.
“At the moment, our main areas are GSM or 2G and GPRS or 2.5G, so this allows us to move higher data speeds into different markets,” he said.
Moore said digital signage holds big potential for M2M communications. Users could update billboards and similar remotely over the air, for instance.
The faster speed of 3G modules means that communications happens faster and video can be supported as well. And as it is an emerging technology, few competitors exist in the UK currently, Moore said.
“Service providers have paid a lot of money for 3G plans and it is in their interest to get more people on to that network,” he said.
As 3G pricing comes down over the next two or three years, more uptake will be seen. Alpha Micro is getting in early with a view to gradual sales growth as 3G adoption increases, Moore said.
He said Alpha Micro will act as a value-added distributor for Sierra Wireless, working with customers in digital signage, video surveillance and the like. It also provides devices from vendors such as Lantronix, u-blox, Sagem and Taoglas.
The distributor has also taken on Sierra Wireless' range of embedded modules, which target the OEM space but the biggest opportunity is for M2M long-term, Moore said.
Jim Lahey, vice president EMEA at Sierra Wireless, said the wireless components vendor has been putting its shoulder to the M2M wheel since mid-2007, when it acquired AirLink.
AirLink makes a range of M2M hardware incorporating a 3G engine with software that enables users to access and manage 3G networking remotely.
“M2M is an investment business for us,” Lahey said. “When we look at M2M players in the market they are quite small and we believe we have the financial bandwidth to make a play.”
Sierra Wireless currently has US$250 million (£140 million) in cash and no debts so is financing what the company believes will eventually become a good investment, he said.
Scott Munro, director of UK business development at Sierra Wireless, agreed that M2M is an upcoming technology.
“We have done a lot of research to find vertically aligned channel partners in the UK and Ireland, and some other geographies,” Munro said.
“What Alpha Micro offers is design [via] distribution. Their professional services and pre- and post- sales support are really solidifying their position.”
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