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Most M2M activity is taking place unnoticed

There certainly is a lot of interest in the M2M and Internet of Everything (IoT) market in 2016. But what we are seeing is only what is happening on the surface. Most of the M2M activities are taking place unnoticed. For example, all new electronic devices are now M2M devices. Tens of millions of smart meters have already been deployed by the electricity industry, with literally hundreds of millions of them in the pipeline. Healthcare is another key industry. All new hospitals now operate large-scale M2M operations, tracking their equipment with real-time information. Most local governments have invested massively in mapping their assets; this is now being followed up by adding connectivity to these assets – whether it is streetlamps, drainage, sewerage or trees, all are in the process of becoming part of a smart city.

The other critical element for the future of telecommunications is to use the network with all of the M2M devices connected to it in such a way that it collects the data from these devices, process that data and then delivers executable real-time analyses to the users of the M2M services. This development is also known as Big Data.

As the M2M and IoT market develops there are now more insights of where the various developments are going.

Key issues here include:

  • The difference between IoT and M2M;
  • The broader ecosystems around these technologies, and in particular the importance of data analytics;
  • The lack of standards, interoperability, and industry leadership in general;
  • The need for new (telco) business models aimed at the enterprise market;
  • The difference between hype and reality.

First we need to look at IoT and M2M as two different developments.

IoT is more people-focussed (wearables, apps, etc), while M2M really is machine-focussed (sensors, etc). Obviously there are lots of overlaps as well.

Furthermore, both IoT and M2M cannot be looked at in isolation. In order for these technologies to be successful the broader ecosystem needs to be taken into account. This includes broadband (fixed and mobile), cloud computing, data centres and data analytics. The latter, in particular, is of critical importance. Unless the issue of data analytics is properly addressed and the companies involved have at least a broad strategy in place around it, IoT and M2M in isolation will make little sense.

Kylie Wansink

Senior Analyst BuddeComm– Global and Middle East Markets