Managed M2M Connectivity
By Charles F. Moreira
Global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold between 2012 and 2017, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66% to reach 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017.
Also, by the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile-connected devices per capita (i.e. over 10 billion), including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules —exceeding the world’s population estimated to be 7.6 billion that year.
M2M communications is non-human communications between various connected-devices such as smart meters, tracking devices, telemetry sensors, GPS satellite positioning and cellular location-based services (LBS) devices and others between themselves and applications running on computers at the back end, 80% of which will communicate over cellular networks, and among mobile-connected devices, M2M will grow faster than smartphones and tablets.
|L-R Philippe Buriot, MD Ammar Qaffaf and Rene Arbefeuille|
“However, while M2M communications took off in a big way in the United States and Europe about three years ago, it’s still not well understood in Malaysia,” said René Arbefeuille, My Evolution chief marketing officer.
According to My Evolution group chief executive officer Philippe Buriot, growth in the M2M market in Asia began to speed up around that time as customers need industry-focused products and services, as M2M revenues in the Asia-Pacific are expected increase from a total of around RM2.2 billion in 2010 to RM7.6 billion in 2015, while Frost & Sullivan expects the number of M2M connections the the Asia-Pacific to grow from 20.8 million in 2010 to 116.6 million in 2015.
“Malaysia’s M2M market growth of 50% CAGR between 2010 and 2015 is higher than the Asia-Pacific average and faster than other countries in the region,” said Arbefeuille.
While the M2M is still a nascent market in Malaysia, analysts expect it to be worth RM200 million with over two million connected-devices by 2015.
First M2M MVNO
My Evolution was established in Malaysia in 2009, specifically to provide managed connectivity for M2M systems, solutions and service providers in Malaysia and the region.
The company became Malaysia’s first dedicated M2M mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) when it launched its service over DiGi’s network on 28 September, 2011, and it still is the only M2M MVNO today.
My Evolution issues its own M2M communications SIM cards to its customers who insert them into their devices and equipment which need to communicate and unlike general mobile data over the cellular network, My Evolution manages their communication through its M2M cloud and provides them with over 99.999% availability, as well as security.
|M2M pressure and flow data logger|
Examples of such devices include data loggers used by water supply utilities to monitor water flow and pressure in their pipes to alert them of low pressure and excessive flow, which are signs of a leak, so they can take immediate action to minimise wastage.
Other customers could include electrical utilities which want to deploy M2M-enabled electricity meters.
Besides that, My Evolution also provides customers with business tools and business logic to monitor, manage and analyse the data traffic through its cloud, as well as billing, provisioning, 24 X 7 self-care and more.
My Evolution’s customers include operators who use M2M communications for GPS tracking of their vehicles in the field, including to know their location, speed, engine condition, fuel level, driver behaviour and other details in real-time.
Besides the above, M2M connectivity can also be used in buildings, consumer, professional, industrial, medical, retail, security and public safety.
“We also work with M2M equipment and applications providers who can bundle our connectivity with their systems and solutions,” said Arbefeuille.
For example on 30 November, 2012, Tramigo Malaysia announced its fleet tracking service operating through My Evolution’s M2M cloud, in conjunction with the Rainforest-Challenge event.
The Finland-based Tramigo manufacturers GPS.GSM tracking devices and those vehicles were fitted with its new Tramigo T220EM devices, which employ Tramigo Landmark Data and converts difficult coordinates and complicated maps into information which is easily understood by lay persons.
It’s also used to monitor the whereabouts of nomadic field personnel such as salesmen and service persons with handheld, credit card and point-of-sales (PoS) terminals, as well as static assets such as meters, vending machines, remote sensors, cell towers and so on based upon their LBS cellular location information, since most of them are indoors where signals of GPS satellites cannot reach.
LBS technology relies upon the location of a device in relation to the locations of one, two or three cellular base stations, including cellular microcells within buildings, basements and so on.
“A major supplier of credit card terminals said that after slow uptake during the previous two to three years, the use of wireless terminals will take off in Malaysia,” said Arbefeuille.
Also, one of My Evolution’s partners wants to develop a solution to track children using only LBS, since children would mostly be indoors such as at school, shopping mall, at home or some other building.
Where both GPS and cellular signals are within reach, LBS works with GPS to improve location accuracy.
My Evolution can advise its partners and clients about the type of solutions to deploy, such as a secured leased wireless connectivity between their ATM machines and terminals and their back-end server, while that leased connection can also be used to carry relevant advertisements.
Since it’s mostly text, M2M communications generally does not require much bandwidth, so can work over legacy GPRS or EDGE connections and many cellular operators keep such networks running for M2M communications.
However, My Evolution recognises that such legacy networks will eventually have to be phased out and is ready to operate over 3G HSPA and 4G LTE networks when the time comes. In fact, LTE and LTE Advanced include specifications for M2M, including support for LTE via femtocells in homes, where it will enable refrigerators, TV sets and other appliances to communicate.
|Embedded M2M SIM|
“We also provide SIMs which can for example be embedded into parts of cars, such as its engine, which allows automotive manufacturers to pre-equip their vehicles with M2M capability anywhere in the world and our distributor will configure and activate the SIM in whichever country or region the car is in,” said Arbefeuille.
Besides Malaysia, My Evolution also serves customers in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand through DiGi’s roaming partners and it can also partner with operators locally in other countries.
“We are also looking into creating an M2M bridge between North Asia and other parts of the Asia-Pacific, and to establish a local presence in the region,” Arbefeuille added.
In the longer term, My Evolution plans to offer its customers a data-mining service where it will provide them with valuable information such as trends derived from M2M data, including from multiple sources.
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