Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has occasionally flirted with mainstream tech media exposure in previous years. Dan Farber recently told me that the technology is mostly found in embedded systems so it doesn’t get much press. That can change, however, as it evolves and is applied to the complex task of automating data centers, he said.
Elsewhere, M2M is gaining significant traction. Recent reports indicate a sharp increase in interest among telecommunication carriers. According to Alexander Resources, the worldwide market for wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will grow from $24 billion in 2004 to an estimated $270 billion by 2010. "The eventual use of RFID tags on a large number of business products, and even in retail (provided that information privacy measures are well in place), opens the way to a multitude of new M2M applications," said a press release.
Days later, ABI Research reported the same trend: "Intelligent sensors are permeating many markets, and the mobile communications industry is no exception…Machine-based wireless data transmission turns practically any item into a networked object via mobile telephony."
Has the perfect storm for M2M arrived? It certainly seems so. The advancement of cellular networks, proliferation of low-cost intelligent sensors, surging interest in telematics, and rise of self-describing data (XML) are coming together to form the enabling infrastructure.