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Sprint's M2M lab: Where machines do the talking

In Sprint's M2M Collaboration Center outside San Francisco, the carrier demonstrates M2M solutions for helping machines talk to each other.

Kent German/CNET

Though Sprint is best known as the country's third-largest wireless carrier, the company does a lot more than just deliver voice and data service to your cell phone. Its network also powers M2M, or machine-to-machine, solutions that enable machines to talk to each other without a human getting in the way.

Related link
• Sprint VP on machines talking to machines (podcast)

Earlier this week, I visited Sprint's M2M Collaboration Center in Burlingame, Calif. In a nondescript building within earshot of the runways at San Francisco International Airport, the carrier demonstrates various ways an M2M network can deliver services like remote management of a delivery company's vehicle fleet, smart meters, wireless point-of-sale transactions, electric vehicle charging, and remote monitoring of in-home health care. Sprint doesn't actually build the related devices--just like it doesn't make any cell phones--but it does build the wireless network on which the devices run. It's about the same network that powers your cell phone, but it's doing a lot of different things.