From vending machines to home security systems and medical devices, wireless sensors are becoming key components of the burgeoning machine-to-machine (M2M) communications industry, reports InformationWeek. Although, these sensors have been around for sometime, they are helping to expand the reach of M2M technology, according to InformationWeek reporter Jeff Bertolucci. And, thereby, fueling the growth in M2M communications.
According to market research firm Analysis Mason, wrote Bertolucci, M2M connections will grow to 2.1 billion by 2021 – up from roughly 100 million last year. Although smartphones are a major factor contributing to M2M’s dramatic growth, other industrial applications, emergency services, security and retail sectors are also contributing to its growth.
Based on the the Analysis Mason study, the report shows that a good chunk of M2M hookups are done via fixed lines, including DSL, ISDN, cable modem and Ethernet connections. But the real growth is in the wireless arena, and it's being spearheaded by cellular carriers, said Analysis Mason.
In a November 2011 report, Analysis Mason analyst Steve Hilton wrote, "Faced with diminishing rates of growth in handset sales and declining residential ARPU (average revenue per user), these mobile operators have latched onto a new area of device growth: the connecting of all things in the world, rather than all people."
Similarly, according to the InformationWeek report, John Horn, president of Cincinnati, Ohio based RACO Wireless, is witnessing M2M's transformation first-hand. The company that provides wireless data services to the M2M industry is optimistic about a not-too-distant future where wireless sensors will do all sorts of interesting things.
Commenting on this development, Horn said in an interview given to InformationWeek that "this is like the early days of the Internet. You have all of these companies that are creating solutions that people couldn't have even imagined 12 months ago." When asked about the type of M2M applications driving this trend, he added, "It's all over the gamut. We have over 500 solution partners today, and they offer a myriad of products. It's getting out into thousands of different applications."
Regarding big data issue, Horn told InformationWeek that most M2M devices generate relatively small quantities of information.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo