With a new cloud-based developer kit, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications users are promised an easy way to manage connected devices and data from prototype to launch. The AT&T M2X Developer Kit helps in the creation of M2M devices--from choosing the right hardware to coding devices. It also provides the necessary services for aggregating data and making necessary business decisions from it.

Microwaves & RF discussed the M2X Developer Kit with Mobeen Khan, AT&T’s Executive Director of Product Marketing, Advanced Mobility Solutions, and AT&T Business Solutions. According to Khan, AT&T has been involved in the M2M industry for about a decade, connecting machines, monitors, cars, and mobile devices. Now that more devices are becoming connected via the so-called “Internet of Everything (IoE),” mainstream developers need a next-generation solution. M2X addresses those needs by combining a variety of AT&T assets. Bundled together, they provide a single place where one can register, verify his or her connection, and start to code. An easy interface offers further support via data analytics.

The kit combines two main services: M2X and a control center. M2X is the cloud-based data-storage service that allows highly secure data transmission, data sharing, and near-real-time event management. The control center, powered by Jasper Wireless, allows developers to activate subscriber identity modules (SIMs) and transmit the data collected on them to any connected machine. This capability enables everything from network provisioning to device activation, customer support, billing options, and performance audits. Such added connectivity also extends upgrade, diagnostic, and repair options for devices. M2X supports a variety of libraries and device platforms including mbed, Arduino, Node.js, Ruby, JavaScript, Python, C, PHP, .NET, Java, iOS, Android, and BeagleBone. It also provides connectivity over Ethernet, WiFi, or 3G/4G links.

In discussing the inspiration for this kit, Khan spoke of the changing landscape of the M2M industry. In the past, it comprised specific companies including car, tractor, and large shipping businesses. Now, everything from retail to healthcare products are being communications-enabled. This shift means that the industry can no longer rely on a handful of experts. With M2X, AT&T is striving to provide a collaborative ecosystem to build solutions. Khan hopes that the kit will “spur innovation in the marketplace [through the] building of mainstream pieces without the need to recreate the infrastructure.” All M2X client libraries are open source and available via GitHub so users can suggest features and contribute improvements. In addition, the creation of the “developer sandbox” will provide a one-stop shop for M2M developers no matter what their level of experience. 

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