It seems that many reputations in the wireless industry have been staked on machine-to-machine becoming a success, and talk of 50 billion connected devices by 2020 is largely based upon an anticipated upsurge in large-scale deployments of wireless M2M.
The slight worry is that little seems to be happening with M2M apart from speculation and hype--something the mobile industry is particularly expert at inflicting upon itself.
The latest forecast from Berg Insight claims that security will become a major driver behind the uptake of M2M, with vehicle tracking and recovery being the major application area for wireless implementations.
Berg Insight believes that the main European market in terms of M2M units and value includes the tracking of cars and commercial vehicles, but (it) can also see several emerging niche markets such as construction equipment and boats as providing added impetus.
The M2M vehicle sector could be provided with another kick in the right direction when (or if) the European eCall project is launched. This initiative will call for all new cars to be fitted with GSM/GPS technology to enable automatic emergency alerts in case of an accident, and will be the time to integrate M2M security features within the eCall technology.
However, this potential platform for M2M is restricted by several factors.
The automotive industry is notoriously conservative regarding new technology, and the adoption of M2M as a security system --acknowledging the complex integration issues involved, will not be rapid. Also, tracking systems for passenger and commercial vehicles is already well established in Europe, although it is somewhat expensive to install for the majority of today's low to mid-range priced cars.
Vehicle security has also improved significantly over the past few years as auto manufacturers, driven by law enforcement agencies and the insurance industry, have reacted to what had become a focus for the criminal classes.
So, what can M2M add to this sector that hasn't already largely been solved and is now proven?
Certainly, integrating an M2M security capability in eCall would provide a neat and elegant solution, and will likely come into fruition. But it will need to add something extra to motivate the car industry, and the consumer, to become an advocate of M2M.--Paul
P.S. Be sure to check out a new feature on femtocell adoption and the evolving nature of the femtocell market.
P.P.S. If you are interested in M2M, also be sure to check out FierceWireless' virtual event, "Embedded Wireless Devices" tomorrow. To view the entire agenda and register (attendance is free!), click here.