I am sure I wasn’t the only one that raised an interested eyebrow when the news hit this week of Avis Budget Group planning to purchase Zipcar. Taken at face value the news is your average “competitive acquisition” news, but I think it represents something more. I think it represents a bold business move that could signal even greater things for M2M moving up the ranks in every industry around the globe.
Since its debut in 2000, Zipcar has been that darling of the car-sharing market. It certainly is not alone in this market, but is probably the most visible name to the average person. A company that when it came out fascinated people by offering an easier way to locate and access vehicles. Little did any of its users realize, but they were using M2M. It was M2M before M2M was cool (wait, is M2M cool yet, or is it too soon? I digress).
Today the service boasts more than 730,000 members in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Austria. Since its arrival on the scene many other similar services have sprung up all over the globe.
So it was interesting to see that when Avis Budget Group looked to battle the competition it turned to what I would like to call a “connected complement” to its core services. Chief rivals Hertz and Enterprise offer car-sharing memberships of their own. But rather than build some organically, Avis saw the success and possibly the name recognition of Zipcar, and decided to acquire a company that seemed to have this whole “connected” thing down. Smart move, in my opinion.
It could become an interesting study in how traditional businesses start to compete on the “connected” level, if you know what I mean. Looking to stay competitive we continue to see companies invest in M2M. And the market is littered with literally thousands upon thousands of these smart and innovative startups from the minds of brilliant entrepreneurs. Therefore it makes so much sense that when companies are looking for their own “connected complement” to their own core services they can follow a similar path that Avis has taken.
Who knows how successful a move this turns out to be for Avis in the long run, but I think the real news here is that M2M is getting recognition from the traditional business models. It could speak volumes for pushing that adoption level higher across the globe. In every industry, every country, every market. We have been trumpeting the need for mass market recognition that the value M2M brings. Perhaps this can be a model in how companies recognize that in order to stay competitive, relevant, and innovative they need to be getting connected. And rather than doing it internally there is probably some great innovative company out there that is already doing it, and doing it well. So why not own it?