M2M: Developing the Connected World

Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology continues to make news and draw interest, especially as 4G LTE networks grow. Though M2M solutions have been around for more than 20 years, recent advances in wireless are revolutionizing how businesses and consumers approach M2M. In fact, by 2017 there will be more than 700 million cellular-enabled M2M device adoptions and system deployments, putting M2M directly in the mainstream.  

Component costs are decreasing and smartphone use is rising, supporting the growth of M2M applications. The growing availability of 4G LTE will allow the development of more data-intensive solutions, opening the door for more advanced M2M solutions that require more data. Forbes reported that this could lead to truly connected world, an “M2M revolution” in the near future, with solutions like vending machines that can give real-time shopper insight, monitoring the temperature of deliveries for online grocery stores, advanced healthcare monitoring and connected cars. Fierce Broadband Wireless even reported that 4G is becoming a prerequisite for any new M2M solution.

Even with a focus on 4G LTE, there’s a lot of talk about what happens with legacy 2G networks, particularly with some of them shutting down. According to The New York Times, about a third of all current M2M communication involves smart utility meters that require lower-bandwidth and speed. In fact, Network World reported that last year more than 90 percent of existing wireless M2M modules, excluding e-readers and similar consumer devices, operate on 2G networks. M2M solutions and products that use lower speeds will continue to be implemented, and future-proofed to 4G LTE. 

M2M solutions have been on the market for years, and as they advance, they will continue to connect people and things in ways never before possible.