Beating the barriers to mass M2M adoption
 

M2M technology has the potential to completely change the way we live and work. Take healthcare technology communicating information to remote medical professionals for instance, what sounds like science fiction, is actually becoming reality.

                                      

For many years now, M2M technology has been successfully deployed within businesses, helping to improve efficiency and enable complex business structures around the world. So, if the technology exists, why arent we enjoying more of the benefits of it already?

The simple fact is that a number of barriers to wide-scale adoption still exist and it will take dedicated cross-industry efforts to break them down.

Security is king

If M2M is to add real value to our lives though, it cannot be weighed down by clunky obtrusive security mechanisms. Users expect security, but they also want it to be unobtrusive.

There are four key ingredients to a secure system and M2M technology has to get all of them right.

1.                        Identity authentication CIts a common clich in the security industry that network security is only as secure as its weakest link and that it is often the end user. The challenge is to get an identity authentication system thats simple to use but robust enough to protect the network.

2.                       Data integrity C Both the content and sender of data has to be confirmed. Otherwise you are opening your M2M network to threats.

3.                       Encryption C The nature of an M2M solution is such that it will be constantly transmitting data between multiple devices. This data needs to be encrypted to keep it secure.

4.                       Electronic signatures C M2M technology can be used in areas requiring strong authentication such as electronic signatures. Your M2M application has to have the power to enable these.

 Compatibility and interoperability

 Interoperability is, of course, the ability to make systems work together and it is an absolute necessity for M2M technology.

The sheer scale of the potential of M2M communications means that huge numbers of component standards already exist. Often these will be optimized for specific functions and so the industry is already seeing fragmentation happening. The key to stopping this fragmentation is through standardization.

ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and the mobile industry is proof of the positive benefits of interoperability through standardization and while various industries will have own standards, M2M will have to work to standardize the interface and provide platforms and solutions that have the flexibility to support multiple standards and future legacy systems.

 Its all linked together

 M2M technology needs a fully connected infrastructure if its going to work properly. Whats the use in having a fast sports car if you only have a dirt track to drive it on? For example, while 2G networks might be sufficient for speed, they cant efficiently handle the number of devices projected for the not too distant future. Only 3G and LTE can provide this.

Wireless providers must lay down a robust and scalable foundation of connectivity and tools that the M2M innovators can build upon to bring their visions of a smarter world to life.

Infrastructure is, of course, closely linked with interoperability and if the barriers of interoperability can be overcome, many of the infrastructure barriers can be beaten simultaneously.

 Making M2M a reality

The technological barriers to mass adoption are not impossible to defeat. But it will need a concerted and united effort from all the stakeholders in the M2M sphere. Indeed, it could be argued that the only real barrier is scale of ambition.

There is nothing unachievable with M2M. All thats needed is innovation and a collective desire to make it work.

 

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