Machine-to-machine communications soon commonplace in all sectors

In 2012, more than half a billion machine-to-machine, or M2M, devices are expected to be in operation worldwide. The annual growth is estimated to be between 45 and 50 per cent.

In 2012, more than half a billion machine-to-machine, or M2M, devices are expected to be in operation worldwide.  The annual growth is estimated to be between 45 and 50 per cent. A few years ago, the smart home served as an example of what the future would look like, but today, many other areas are hot.

At present, M2M is used within the energy, transport, security, real estate and health care sectors. The global M2M market is expected to generate USD 57 billion in net sales by 2014, according to Strategy Analytics, Inc

Customer benefit driving development

What drives the development is naturally the degree of benefit from the technology to the customer. Health care is one of the first areas where this technology already is in operation, and within the automotive, transport and security industry M2M is growing strongly.  (For concrete examples, see other articles tagged Mobile World Congress 2012.)

According to the expected development, M2M will be a natural ingredient of increasingly more spheres of our daily lives: at work, at school, in shops, when children are playing, in transport, health care and so on. The development is expected to accelerate significantly in 2012, and this will first take place in the Nordic countries. The development is enabled by the existing basic features in the networks, highly-developed and well-functioning business models and a number of partners who are designing applications for different sectors.

TeliaSonera is a pioneer in the forefront of designing, testing and launching M2M services. An M2M solution is not only a creative service and a mobile network access. In order to produce a well-functioning total solution, the application must be integrated into the customer’s existing systems and processes and routines that work for the customer must be created.

New way of thinking

Take, for example, the introduction of an M2M application which enables the coffee machine at the office to set off an alarm as soon as it has run out of coffee or needs to be cleaned. To make sure the new process functions well, the M2M solution must be connected to, for instance, the customer’s procurement and billing systems. New routines are also needed to schedule the service engineer’s visiting rounds.

In order to be able to offer our customers a well-functioning total solution, TeliaSonera collaborates closely with more than 50 partners. The partners include application developers and organizational consultants, IT consultants and other specialist needed to create a package solution. TeliaSonera acts as the hub of this cooperation which includes partners from all necessary areas. The number of M2M partners is constantly on the increase. Today, TeliaSonera is the biggest M2M player in Sweden with plans to expand primarily to the other Nordic as well as the Baltic countries in order to cover those markets with more local partners.

In the transport sector, as well as in other areas, the M2M services tend to be global. This naturally places requirements on the operators for the systems to function across national borders. Therefore, TeliaSonera, Deutsche Telecom and France Telecom have concluded an agreement concerning a transparent European market. Customers want access to local services, but they do not want to pay unexpected high roaming charges. Correspondingly, manufacturers want the system to operate in all markets, which today cover the three operators’ own markets, including the whole of Europe, Eurasia and parts of Africa.  The collaboration also drives the creation of international M2M standards.

Quality and coverage

Some M2M solutions are stationary, but for example in the transport sector, where the solutions are mobile, it is of vital importance that the mobile network is of high quality offering very good coverage.

The development and use of M2M services will explode in the years to come. Ericsson Vision predicts that the number of mobile devices in the world will total 50 billion in 2020. A substantial part of them will have M2M services.