When many people hear of machine to machine (M2M) technology, they probably first think of the Internet of Things (IoT), the trend of connecting our homes, our cities, our cars, our devices and more to the Internet. There’s a big difference in the IoT and industrial M2M technology, however, and it relies on the network connectivity. While Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth are great for Internet connections within confined areas, like the walls of a home or office or parameters of a vehicle, different connections are required for more long-distance needs, like remote monitoring, fleet management and asset tracking, and those connections are from cellular networks.
Berg Insight reported that shipments of cellular machine to machine (M2M) devices in industrial automation reached 760,000 units worldwide in 2013, and that number is expected to grow to 2.1 million units in 2018, a CAGR of 22.5 percent. The number of cellular M2M connections in industrial automation applications will grow from 2.5 million connections at the end of 2013 to 7.1 million connections by 2018.
Network equipment in industrial automation applications including gateways, switches, connectors, routers and wireless access points featuring embedded cellular connectivity is the largest industrial automation M2M device segment.
The report, “Industrial Automation and Wireless M2M,” says the two largest applications for cellular M2M connectivity within industrial automation are backbone network communication and remote monitoring. Wireless automation solutions are required when wired communications are too hazardous or impractical, the report said, and they are usually faster and more cost-effective to deploy, increasing the efficiency, flexibility and scalability of factory plant layouts.
The growth of LTE (News - Alert) networks is fueling the growth in demand for data-intensive applications, and will increase the usage of cellular communication in industrial backbone networks.
“Increasing automation levels and rising wages in emerging markets are changing the global manufacturing landscape. To stay competitive, companies in developed regions need to find strategies beyond moving production to low-wage countries,” said Johan Svanberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight, and author of the report, in a statement. “Wireless M2M solutions can play an instrumental role in connecting resources, equipment and systems which can provide the actionable data required to efficiently manage complex product mixes and highly volatile production volumes.”
The report also addresses big data analytics, connectivity strategies, key drivers behind the adoption of wireless M2M in industrial, the major applications for wireless M2M and different providers and applications.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker