BuddeComm’s annual publication Global Telecoms – Smart Grids and M2M, provides the key global insights and statistics for these emerging and increasingly important sectors of the future.
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) also referred to as the Internet of Things is going to be a real game-changer. It will transform every single sector of society and the economy and it will be out of this environment that new businesses – and indeed new industries – will be born. Many ICT companies are increasing their presence in countries that either have or are developing high-speed infrastructure for this very reason.
A key element to the future of M2M is the development of smart grids. The infrastructure which is being built offers a range of features such as ubiquitousness, affordability, low latency, high speed and high capacity. It will link – apart from individual people – millions of devices, such as sensors, that will enable us to manage our environment, traffic, infrastructures, and our society as a whole much more efficiently and effectively.
The telcos have an opportunity to show leadership here, but this could equally become another internet-like development, driven by users and the internet industry. The development of M2M and the IoT is the next inflection point after connecting homes (fixed lines) and people (mobile). It will increase telecoms connections to billions of devices.
What are the opportunities for the telcos in this new environment? Perhaps the best option is for them to concentrate on the enormous demand for bandwidth. This needs to be managed, moved around the networks and made available at the edges, using converging wireless and fixed high-speed broadband infrastructure. M2M requires massive data processing through data centres and server farms, linked to an enormous requirement for real-time analytics.
As the discussion continues about the need for intelligent networks and ‘smarts’ in virtually everything; it becomes obvious that we must move away from the decision-making processes that have brought us to the point of financial crisis, environmental crisis and to the monopolistic and dogmatic regimes that have developed in the telecoms sector. Around the world debates are heating up in the search for new and better ways to find solutions for these crises. There is more or less universal agreement that a linear continuation of the past will lead to more problems and, eventually, utter chaos and destruction.
Telemetry applications based on M2M are expected to boom and are integral to the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) environment. RFID also has a promising future in Machine-to-Machine transmission applications/IoT and is already in widespread use around the world. Smart is now well and truly on the agenda of most electricity companies, and indeed on many of their governments’ political agendas. It has become increasingly clear that smart grids are able to transform the energy industry, and that a much broader group of industries are also affected by this. The other industries involved are IT, telecoms, white goods, renewable energy, management consultants, storage, transport, etc. The electricity grid is becoming the enabler in all these changes, and by making it an intelligent grid and adding telecoms to it, the power will shift away from the electricity companies to the customers – and the appliances that will be developed will assist this process; some of that on a M2M basis. While in developed markets Fibre-to-the-Home will be the leading infrastructure force behind this economic and social transformation, mobile broadband will deliver these changes in the developing world. Nobody needs to miss out on these benefits as long as governments take a leadership role both in relation to infrastructure developments and in developing trans-sector policies for healthcare, education, smart grids, transport and public safety - in short developing smart communities. It is essential that as smart grids develop; the social and economic benefits are clearly spelt out and as such build a case for consumer support. Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.