M2M no longer a pipe dream

M2M no longer a pipe dream

Summary: Innovations in mobile tech has opened new opportunities in the machine-to-machine industry, with providers offering SIM and fleet management services to smart meters and CCTVs.


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  • Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication has been in existence in some form or another for a long time, but many of the recent innovations in this field revolve around mobile technology. 

    Devices that were previously operating offline can now be connected using a wireless networking module, opening up new use cases and, with it, new business models and opportunities.

    Manufacturers can now include Web-enabled features by bundling their products with built-in networking capabilities, making Internet connections that much easier. For example, a blood pressure machine for use at home can be connected online so it can send the patient's medical information to an online Health portal for better management, a SingTel spokesperson noted.

    The Singapore telco is one that is capitalizing on the new opportunities provided by M2M by offering a M2M portal, enabling companies deploying M2M to manage the SIM cards in areas such as activation and data transfer and troubleshooting functionalities. Besides SIM control platform, SingTel also provides M2M solutions that enable energy management for Green buildings, Surveillance solutions for secuirty and more.

    ZDNet Asia also spoke to other tech vendors to see how M2M communication is becoming a reality, and the different ways the technology is being used in real-life applications.

  • M2M-connected CCTV

    Through the use of a SIM card, SingTel also provides connectivity to closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) which are mounted at locations without fixed Internet connection. 

    This means video footage from these devices can be streamed back to the main system, the spokesperson said. If the mobile network is congested, users can adjust the video bitrate accordingly to ensure continuous streaming. The low bitrate images can later be enhanced for clearer viewing, he noted.


  • NUS smart meter

    Both Gemalto and Singapore company Power Automation also worked together to implement M2M-enabled power meters at the National University of Singapore's UTown Residence. 

    See Gim Kerk, director of engineering at Power Automation, explained the smart meter tracks the use of electricity in the hostel and, by doing so, is equipped to offer residents to purchase electricity credits for air conditioners in their rooms.

    The meters display residents' remaining credits, send messages for them to buy more credits when it is running low, as well as display real-time loading and warnings for impending electrical trips, See said.

    Lakhi Baug, M2M sales manager for Asia at Gemalto, added the smart meters are embedded with mobile connectivity so they can connect to a server which collects the usage data, enable real-time feedback to the service provider and control parameters to facilitate the efficient distribution of electricity.

    Besides efficient power management, the smart meters reduce manpower cost as they eliminate the need for staff to visit the hostel to take physical meter reading.

Topics: Networking, Emerging Tech, Telcos, Business Intelligence

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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  • It's called TCP/IP.

    "Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication has been in existence in some form or another for a long time"

    It's called TCP/IP. And a host of other related protocols. It's not like you really need anything special for "M2M" communications. Machines have been communicating with each other since ARPNET was invented.
  • I agree ...

    I'm not sure what all the big hype is about, like you said this is nothing new as this has been around the manufacturing world for years.
  • More and More Varied

    Yes, machines have been communicating for some time now. But the type and number is rapidly expanding. They are also becoming more autonomous.