The number of connected devices is estimated to double over the next eight years to 50 billion globally, according to the trade body for mobile operators GSMA (News - Alert) and Machina Research.
This means that communication between these connected devices will explode, causing rapid growth of Machine to Machine (M2M) technology.
M2M is a horizontal capability that can be used in a variety of industries and applications, leading to many different vertical applications and various use cases within the same vertical.
“If a device has a plug or battery, it will have a wireless module and be connected in some way. Mobile devices and the tracking of mobile devices including the people and objects connected to these devices will have connectivity to allow communication or tracking of the device. ‘Anything, anywhere, anytime’ will be the mantra of these devices,” explained Mike Sapien, principal analyst at Ovum (News - Alert), in an interview with TMCnet.
Today, certain industries are already seeing an uptake in M2M, especially where regulations are driving adoption. For instance, the UK government has set a goal to have 53 million smart meters in homes and business by 2020, according to Computer Weekly. They will use M2M technology in order for meters to communicate with a data center, which then sends messages to the utility companies, alerting the user about their energy usage. Even more, smart metering is already widespread in Italy, Sweden and France because of regulatory enforcement.
“M2M is being used to monitor areas such the oil industry, measuring holes in pipelines, asset tracking is another big area, as it is being used to track devices in hospitals,” Dan Bieler, principal analyst at Forrester (News - Alert), told Computer Weekly.
Another sector that is rapidly adopting M2M technology is healthcare. For instance, M2M is valuable in the monitoring of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Using M2M technology, patients can monitor their blood sugar levels and then have their results sent straight to a doctor. This is just one example of the remote applications that can be used for preventive care, diagnostic care, long-term care, sports wellness care and much more.
Over the past five years, Ovum has done a lot of research on the telco operators, mobile operators and M2M ecosystem vendors. The firm found it surprising that there are still new services being developed while M2M platform providers continue to survive independently without further consolidation.
“2013 will be the year of M2M moving to a few major areas that will finally scale,” commented Sapien. “It will be a time of focus around some few application areas (e.g. track and trace, connected car and healthcare solutions) that will finally scale.”
In addition, other application areas and solutions will remain fragmented and small in scale, such as smart grid, which will remain very small in the U.S., but will have many other countries deploying it, according to Sapien.
“From the consumer end it’s about having a lot of apps in the home, communicating with each other and elements of smart grids, such as electric and water meters,” explained Bieler. “In the enterprise space there are a number of solutions and metering in the context of facility management.”
Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst, Ovum
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo