Mobile Internet of Things: An Explosion Soon
Most major industries are developing and offering M2M devices; transportation, health, energy, payments, appliances, and more.
The Internet of Things can include nearly everything that can be accessed electronically. Much discussion has been focusing on Machine-to-Machine communications (M2M) where devices communicate with each other. It appears that most major industries are developing and offering M2M devices; transportation, health, energy, payments, appliances, etc.
An organization can use M2M to locate, track, and monitor assets. The asset can be a product, rented equipment, vehicle, or even a person. Vending machine companies monitor their machines to plan what and when to restock. Pipeline companies monitor their pipes for operation and safety. The asset can be connected wired or wireless depending on the asset's mobility and the cost of wired connections.
Report on M2M
Jennifer Kent of Parks Associates has produced a report, "M2M: The Next Billion Mobile Connections". Although M2M is mostly of interest to B2B industries, the consumer arena will soon grow as well. Enterprises that think they will not be affected much by M2M should reconsider based on the information this report provides.
The report examines the growing cellular-enabled M2M industry and the opportunities for U.S. and global mobile service providers. It includes an overview of the M2M ecosystem, profiles M2M vendors, and analyzes the carriers' M2M strategies. The report provides insight into trends in consumer-facing vertical markets. It also includes forecasts on the connected consumer vehicle and mobile personal emergency response system markets.
Although not all enterprises will be concerned about vehicle-based M2M devices, I believe that the following charts illustrate the expansive nature of M2M. I hope that the charts spark the imagination of the reader who can then see the great potential of M2M in their organization.
The Impact of Car-Resident M2M
Today, cars offer hands-free phone calls, remote controlled door locks, and air conditioning and heating control, stolen vehicle location, use of the car as a Wi-Fi hotspot, and access to the Internet for information and entertainment.
It is anticipated that the number of U.S. connected cars and subscribers will increase rapidly, nearing 20 million by 2017. The Parks report states that 16% of U.S. vehicle owners who live in a broadband access-supported home have emergency notification services in their cars. About 60% of newer-car owners can access apps in their cars like maps and directions, while 40% can connect to the Internet and download music. Parks anticipates that 45% of all new cars by 2017 will have embedded cellular-enabled services.
If nothing else, enterprises like banks, insurance companies, Amazon, eBay and JC Penney will be using the car-resident systems as a channel for selling products and services. For example, I may be able to access customer service while I am stuck in traffic, a conversation I don't often like: I can be dually aggravated at the traffic and customer service agent at the same time.
The car's M2M is obviously a mobile/wireless environment. Focusing on this aspect brings up a number of questions for the M2M information collector and the supporting mobile networks.
* The enterprise collecting the M2M information will need an expanded mobile device management (MDM) capability, especially for expenses. Are the MDM vendors ready?
* Will the mobile networks support QoS for emergency and health information?
* Do the mobile networks have the address capacity to connect the potentially billions of devices? How soon will they embrace IPv6 for endpoint addressing?
* How will M2M affect the mobile networks' data plans? Will the data plans keep changing as they have in the past, thereby changing the costs for the enterprise?
* The IT staff will have to develop knowledge and experience with the M2M devices. With limited IT budgets, can this be done?
* The amount of information produced will also place a burden on the data storage capacity at the enterprise. A difficulty could come in predicting the needed storage capacity.
* M2M will produce Big Data. Are the Big Data products and services companies ready for the volume of information as well as its analysis?
* Will the network providers get into the cloud business to service the M2M data collection and analysis?
* Will there be new compliance legislation concerning the collection, storage, and distribution of the M2M data?
* Will all of this M2M data produce security and privacy issues?
My previous blog "Big Data, Internet of Things: The Network Impact" stimulated my interest in this subject. I am concerned that not enough public attention has been given to these issues by the enterprise and SMB communities.