Mission-Critical M2M

8:40 AM -- Most machine-to-machine (M2M) apps in use today only require a 2G or 2.5G network, but the move to 4G is not without merit. It is video, the same culprit taxing 3G networks, that is driving the need for M2M that actually requires 4G speeds. (See WiMax Finds Short-Term Niche in 4G M2M, M2M: Where WiMax Meets Lindsay Lohan, and Does 4G Have a Role in M2M?)

According to Angela Singhal-Whiteford, solutions manager, service provider mobility, at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), if an app requires prioritization, it requires 4G. For example, first responders need to ensure that their often life-or-death messages are given precedence over other network traffic.

Other situations that require heavy bandwidth and low latency, such as video surveillance in a police cruiser, real-time video monitoring, and secure banking where an upsell might occur at the point-of-sale, are well suited for 4G, she says.

“If it’s a pretty dumb cheap device like a smart meter, it’s all about cost. There’s no way they’re looking at a 4G link. It depends on the device and the criticalness [sic] of information.”

Certain apps, like surveillance, might also include the option to upgrade the video stream to HD, adds Cisco solutions manager Brian Walsh. HD may be required by law in order for evidence to be admissible in court, for example, or the technology may be combined with face-recognition software. In this case, 4G -- or multiple network access -- would be in order.

Another interesting example of a 2.5G app that may need 3G or 4G capabilities is digital signage. For feeding video downstream, 2G is sufficient, but if a user shows interest, companies are interested in switching to a video conferencing link to connect the user with a sales person. The upstream speeds here can’t be supported over 2G.

In this case, chipsets that support 2.5G and 3G or 4G might make sense, but Heavy Reading research analyst Tim Kridel says they are significantly more expensive and complex.

“You could build whatever you needed into a wireless chipset,” Kridel says. “If you needed everything from GSM to LTE with some WiMax thrown in, and you’re willing to pay for someone to build it if it’s not available off the shelf, you can have that. It will be a significant cost for the chip and the airtime.”

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:30:29 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

Another example I liked from Tekelec and Numerex was using M2M to detect the ripeness of a banana. There are lots of interesting use cases for SMS in M2M, since most of it just requires short bursts of data.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:30:28 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

Let me know when they figure out mangos and avocados. Then we'll be onto something.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:30:27 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

Well, this is probably TMI, but it should work with any fruit thanks to the chemical nose, the sensor that collects the ripeness info from particles in the air. The nose communicates through SMS with other machines in the shipping containers that release nitrogen in the air. If you can control the nitrogen by releasing it with SMS, you can control the speed of ripening.

Did I get it right, Larry?

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:30:27 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

I'm surprised that ripening agents are needed for bananas. All you have to do is leave them on a kitchen counter for three days.

nachobarbudo 12/5/2012 | 4:29:57 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

Thanks for the article. I'm interested in bananas (and fruit in general:), but also in health-related M2M apps - which I think will be the most critical. An example is the eCall initiative from the EC (car crash notification).

Any comments on these?

Thank you!

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:29:56 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

mHealth -- remote patient monitoring and other health care-related apps -- is becoming a big market for M2M. The revenue projections here are high, but the stumbling point is who pays - insurance, the medical institution, consumers?

One example comes from Sprint and Omnilink-- they have a really interesting M2M app for Alzheimer's patient tracking. Lots of doctors are also already using the iPad, as a normal pad of paper replacement, I suppose.

PS. A car crash notification?? Won't you just sort of feel that... :)



nachobarbudo 12/5/2012 | 4:29:48 PM
re: Mission-Critical M2M

Thank you for your reply.

M2M in cars caught my attention because it combines:

- critical application like the mentioned "car crash": after airbag deployment, the car will send GPS data, owner's data, etc. to the emergency network 

- also opens the door to real-time telemetry which will allow carmakers and other companies

   * to collect vastly amounts of data of their cars and use them also from a data-mining perspective (how they perform, how are they used, etc.)

   * to offer VAS based on the above: preemptive notifications, built-in localization services, ...

Best regards.

P.S.: Maybe I'm to obsessed with cars! Should be the kid inside me :)


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