Saturday, November 14, 2015

Quick bite on Machine to Machine (M2M)

It’s not been very long since I have entered the Telecom space; but I am extremely impressed to see the incredible work done by Vodafone in M2M.
From last 2 weeks, I am going through some extensive training on this technology & I am blown away to see how M2M is revolutionizing industries from various verticals these days.

M2M is also impacting our lives too:-
Few street lights in India are not manually managed; they are street lights which are operated based on the Sun & Moonlight. 
To enter your hotel room all that you need to do is tap your Smartphone.
Car Insurance premium can now be calculated based on your driving habits.
Not only today people are getting smarter, it’s the machines which are getting smarter than us. Thanks to M2M technology. This technology has been around for quite some time now, but these days we see its implementation very often.

Machine to Machine communication is considered to be a highly developing domain, which will work as an enabler for making various verticals “Smart” by providing the capability of transmitting data in real time by using wired / wireless networks, this communication concept offers will provide a wide range of opportunities that will help enabling novel business cases, enhanced workflow, efficiency and improved quality of life.

The M2M ecosystem is considered to be organized in a 3-Layer conceptual model as explained below:
  1. Network Services Layer: Provided by the Network Service Provider (Telecom Service Providers).
  2. M2M Services Layer: Based on Internet Protocol (IP) and provided by the M2M Service Provider.
  3. Application Layer: Provided by the Application Service Provider catering to End User Applications
General description of M2M communication:
  • M2M refers to the technologies that allow wired / wireless system to communicate with the devices of the same ability.
  • M2M solution connects machines or devices to the internet transforming them into intelligent devices that can exchange real time information.
  • M2M uses a device (sensor, meter, etc.) to capture an 'event' (motion, meter reading, temperature, etc.), which is relayed through a network (wireless, wired or hybrid) to an application (software program), that translates the captured event into meaningful information. 
  • M2M devices may be fixed or mobile. Some examples of the fixed M2M applications are Smart metering, City Surveillance cameras, Home automation (remote monitoring of the house and communicating with Fridge, Air conditioners etc.). Moving M2M device applications may have vehicle tracking, Fitness health care devices, e-call, woman safety bands etc. Enabling technologies are as given below:
    • RFID, wireless sensor networks (WSNs), Location based services (LBS).
    • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), NFC, WLAN (IEEE 802.11), Low power personal area network (IEEE 802.15.4) such as ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, Thread for short range communication (TAN / BAN/ FAN/ NAN/ LAN)
    • Cellular 2G/ 3G / LTE MTC (3GPP rel 12), fixed line BB for WAN depending upon the applications.
    • LPWAN technology such as LoRa and Sigfox for WAN are proprietary
    • 5G will bring ultra-high reliability, ultra-low latency, wide coverage and high security network, suitable for M2M / IoT
    • IPv6 capable of providing unique IP addresses to all the devices available on earth. 
  • Devices may be connected directly to the M2M platform or through Gateway / aggregator, depending upon the design of the network. Fixed M2M devices may be connected through gateways having connectivity on lease lines (IP) / fixed line BB or on SIM based connectivity. 
  • Moving M2M devices will be having the connectivity mainly on SIM

M2M Benefits:
  • Operation efficiency: Automation of a process
  • New Business Models:  Innovative strategy
  • Consumer satisfaction:  Remote engine diagnostics of vehicles are a good example which WOWs  customers
  • Compliance: Private APN to assure data security, the transaction is done safely
  • Sustainability: eg Smart metering, Reduce wastage & assure optimized usage of resources

How M2M work?
  1.  A SIM is inserted into the device
  2. The SIM gathers information and transfers it via the Vodafone network to an M2M application
  3. The M2M application processes the data to provide us with useful information

M2M applications:-M2M applications as per industry are given below:

Industry / Vertical
M2M applications
Automotive/ Transportation
Vehicle tracking, e-call, V2V and V2I applications, traffic control, Navigation, Infotainment, Fleet management, asset tracking,  manufacturing and logistics

Utilities / Energy
Smart metering, smart grid, Electric line monitoring, gas / oil / water pipeline monitoring.

Health care
Remote monitoring of patient after surgery (e-health), remote diagnostics, medication reminders, Tele-medicine, wearable health devices

Safety & Surveillance
Commercial and home security monitoring, Surveillance applications, Fire alarm, Police / medical alert

Financial /Retail
Point of sale (POS), ATM, Kiosk, Vending machines, digital signage and handheld terminals.

Public Safety
Highway, bridge, traffic management, homeland security, police, fire and emergency services.

Smart City
Intelligent transport System, Waste management, Street  Light control system, Water distribution, Smart Parking

Remotely controlled irrigation pump

Some interesting work by Vodafone in M2M:
1. Calcutta Smart meters send electronic meter readings to the energy provider automatically. Read more....

2. Reva - Making the connected car a reality. Read more...

3. mSwipe-  Card payment via smartphone.