Technology focuses on making our life easier. Jari Arkko, Internet architect at Ericsson (News - Alert) Research, definitely shares in this dream. He believes that the era and technology for unbreakable connection with devices is already with us, waiting to increase our productivity.
Arkko is displaying his ‘connected home’ at the company’s research labs at Stockholm. His system is based on sensors in different gadgets like washing machine or the toaster that trigger off algorithms that send a message to say Facebook (News - Alert) events feed to notify of an event like dried laundry or that the toaster has finished the task and gone off.
Though this sounds crazy and complicated, Arkko believes that the app, through its simple user interface gives an opportunity to consolidate our life-related information into one place. With the number of connected devices set to double over the next eight years to over 50 billion worldwide(according to mobile operator GSMA (News - Alert) and Machina Research), communication between connected devices will be on the rise giving Arkko’s innovation a chance to thrive.
With so many programmers available to develop apps on platforms like Facebook and Google (News - Alert), the demand for connection will be on the rise as minds come up with awesome ideas on virtually an hourly basis. Arkko backs up this fact by saying, “I have 200 ports in my house, but that is not enough for me. I’ve run out! We are on the blink of the networked society, many of the tools needed for building these things are here.”
Arkko is, however, not alone in this quest to expand the world of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication. Different industries are already embracing the technology especially in settings where circumstances force them. For instance, the UK government has a goal to install over 53 million smart meters in homes and businesses by 2020. These meters use M2M technology to upload data to a central data center and then to utility companies whom in turn respond to the user appropriately.
With e-car regulations scheduled to take effect by 2014 allowing cars to beam their location after tragic events, say like a crash, the automotive sector is going to plunge straight into the vortex of the connectivity tornado. Other sectors on the line include monitoring of chronic diseases and uploading information to doctors remotely giving the power to treat patients once the initial distress symptoms show up.
However, the means and methods to create and run applications supporting M2M communication is already here, we still have one bottleneck to deal with. To effectively support the huge amount of data that will be on the move once these applications enter large-scale operation, seamless connectivity of wireless and excellent 3G+ networks is necessary.
To combat the threat of bandwidth congestion, the mobile industry, according to GSMA, might invest over $793 billion to expand coverage and capabilities of their mobile networks. However, such improvements might prove trivial if network provider Ericsson’s prediction, that mobile traffic will grow tenfold in that time span, comes true. Ericsson believes that mobile operators will have to fashion means of managing network surges and tailor services to accommodate specified requirements of new gadgets that might enter the market.
This growth points to the need for regular upgrades, which come with the question of who will be funding these frequent expensive ventures. Currently, the burden is on carriers but in the future, it might be the combined responsibility of developers, HTML5, IPv6 and additional broadband technology.
The hype on M2M revolution however, is still not welcome to all. For instance, Warren East, the CEO of the microprocessor company, ARM (News - Alert), thinks that the current initial years of the revolution might not be as fast as many think and that the pace and opportunities will start to flood in a decade or later.
Edited by Brooke Neuman