What do you mean by M2M communication?
Machine to machine (M2M) is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans. M2M technologies transfer data on the condition of physical assets and devices to a remote central location for effective monitoring and control.
At first Long Term Evolution (LTE) seems to have everything that machine-to-machine (M2M) users don't need: a hefty hardware price premium in a sector that's notoriously price-sensitive, band fragmentation that adds cost and complexity, spotty coverage for applications that often are mission-critical and far more bandwidth than most applications will ever need. That assumption is correct, but it also overlooks all of the reasons why so many operators, vendors and end users are already exploring LTE for M2M – and, in a few cases, using it.
LTE M2M is a roadmap item at this point rather than a commercial offering. So to encourage them to speak freely about their strategies and market outlook, Heavy Reading Insider offered many of them the option of using their input on background. They also had the option of attribution when discussing topics that were already public or that they were comfortable disclosing for the first time.
The cellular based M2M solutions provide easier installation and provisioning targetted mainly for short term deployments. M2M communication could be carried over mobile networks (e.g. GSM-GPRS, CDMA EVDO networks). In the M2M communication, the role of mobile network is largely confined to serve as a transport network.
M2M devices vary from highly-mobile vehicles communicating in real-time, to im-mobile meter-reading appliances that send small amounts of data at random instants.
It covers the communications between the M2M Gateway(s) and M2M application(s), e.g. xDSL, LTE, WiMAX, and WLAN.
Other than cellular M2M is widely adopted in energy,transport,real estate and agriculture sectors. As mentioned previously smart meter utilizes the energy efficiently and hence bring down CO2 emissions. Hence M2M helps in lowering the effect of global warming.
In the transport sector M2M helps by providing information regarding best optimized routes to trucks,ships,trains and planes so that wastage of fuel can be avoided. This also helps reduce CO2 emissions by cutting the distance of the travel.
M2M helps in building and home management by conserving energy for various systems viz. cooling, lighting,heating,ventillation and other electronic appliances. It also provides security for the home or building owner with the M2M compliant security enabled devices.
In agriculture sector M2M provides solutions to monitor cattle health and grazing style, soil monitoring,smart farming and smart watering. This helps grow large amount of crops with lesser resources and hence save money for the farmers.
Use of M2M:
M2M communications, for instance, can be used to more efficiently monitor the condition of critical public infrastructure, such as water treatment facilities or bridges, with less human intervention. It can help businesses maintain inventory or make it easier for scientists to conduct research. Because it relies on common technology, it also could help a homeowner maintain the perfect lawn or create a shopping list at a button's touch.
The possibility of connecting anything from anywhere brings new scenarios and exciting prospects.
Depending on acceptable latency, mission criticality, time-of-use pricing, peak data rates, security needs,
battery life, and distance requirements – there is a deluge of protocols and networks accessible for use.
For short-haul communication in home networking, one might evaluate ZigBee, wM-Bus, Power Line
Communication (PLC), WiFi, Z-Wave, LonWorks and for long-haul it could be PLC, Ethernet Broadband,
Ethernet IP, WiFi/WiMax, 2G/3G/4G cellular or even satellite communication.
Prices of end devices, platforms, network operators, and connectivity costs are all declining in recent
times. As these continue to drop, M2M solutions will become more mainstream and established.
Challenges in M2M Solutions
Organizations are currently facing many challenges in implementing end-to-end M2M solutions – primarily
due to the large number of technologies, services, transport mediums, stakeholders involved in a
deployment. Some of the challenges can be understood by looking at a Smart Home scenario:
- Crowded Technologies
- Data Collection
- User Interfaces
Machine based interactions are witnessing a growth trajectory across industries. The challenges are many
wherein a number of interested parties need to come together for an implementation. Domain knowledge
and technical knowhow are the key requirements since an M2M solution touches upon core processes.