Last week in Detroit, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse addressed the Detroit Economic Club explaining how Sprint intends to leverage its 3G and 4G wireless networks to bring ‘significant environmental, safety and operational benefits’ to the transportation industry. Through a Connected Transportation initiative, Hesse outlined a machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions strategy that would create products and services for mass transit operators and public safety organizations to improve driver performance, increase public safety and enhance fleet management logistics. By using such wireless technology, Hesse said, accident reduction of 5 percent in a 100-vehicle fleet could bring about six fewer accidents each year. That’s a compelling argument for M2M, and to help develop such solutions Sprint has opened an M2M Collaboration Center in the San Francisco Bay Area to work with device manufacturers and applications developers, get products certified and bring them to market. Sprint cites Amtrak as being just one transport organization already working with the carrier on applications such as Wi-Fi and digital signage connected over 4G networks to improve the travel experience. Connecting Vehicles With the global mobile M2M market expected to reach $57 billion by 2014, Sprint is not the only carrier looking to get in on the action. Cisco agrees that M2M is ready for prime time, and that automotive and transportation applications are high on the list, pointing to initiatives like Telenor’s Connexion as a leading example. In Europe, Nissan Leaf owners will be able check the battery status and control certain functions of their parked cars from mobile phones, via the Telenor network. Telenor believes that growth in this sector will be assisted by EU legislation such the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Directive 2010/40/EU which came into force in the fall of 2010, laying out a framework for deployment of road transport ITS solutions. It won’t be a fast path to implementation due to market complexity, warns Telenor’s Rémi Demerle, but legislation is what the industry needs to create a common EU standard for connected services to ground transport. The question remains whether a European standard would be adopted in North America. The GSM Association (GSMA) predicts that the worldwide penetration of telematics systems in vehicles will climb from less than 10 percent in 2010 to 23 percent in 2015; this can only be achieved with consensus among carriers and vendors on how that will be accomplished technically.