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Machine-to-machine (M2M) Communications: Architecture, Performance and Applications

Machine-to-machine (M2M) Communications: Architecture, Performance and Applications

Автором Elsevier Science

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Machine-to-machine (M2M) Communications: Architecture, Performance and Applications

Автором Elsevier Science

856 pages
Dec 23, 2014


Part one of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communications covers machine-to-machine systems, architecture and components. Part two assesses performance management techniques for M2M communications. Part three looks at M2M applications, services, and standardization.

Machine-to-machine communications refers to autonomous communication between devices or machines. This book serves as a key resource in M2M, which is set to grow significantly and is expected to generate a huge amount of additional data traffic and new revenue streams, underpinning key areas of the economy such as the smart grid, networked homes, healthcare and transportation.

  • Examines the opportunities in M2M for businesses
  • Analyses the optimisation and development of M2M communications
  • Chapters cover aspects of access, scheduling, mobility and security protocols within M2M communications
Dec 23, 2014

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Machine-to-machine (M2M) Communications - Elsevier Science

Machine-to-machine (M2M) Communications

Achitecture, Performance and Applications

Carles Antón-Haro

Mischa Dohler

Table of Contents

Cover image

Title page


List of contributors

Woodhead Publishing Series in Electronic and Optical Materials

1: Introduction to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications



1.1 Introducing machine-to-machine

1.2 The machine-to-machine market opportunity

1.3 Examples of commercial and experimental M2M network rollouts

1.4 Machine-to-machine standards and initiatives

1.5 Book rationale and overview

Part One: Architectures and standards

2: Overview of ETSI machine-to-machine and oneM2M architectures


2.1 Introduction

2.2 Need and rationale for M2M standards

2.3 Standardized M2M architecture

2.4 Using M2M standards for vertical domains, the example of the smart home

2.5 Conclusions and future trends for M2M standardization

3: Overview of 3GPP machine-type communication standardization


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Pros and cons of M2M over cellular

3.3 MTC standardization in 3GPP

3.4 Concluding remarks

4: Lower-power wireless mesh networks for machine-to-machine communications using the IEEE802.15.4 standard



4.1 Introduction

4.2 The origins

4.3 Challenges of low-power mesh networking

4.4 The past

4.5 The present

4.6 The future

4.7 Conclusion

5: M2M interworking technologies and underlying market considerations


5.1 Interworking technologies for M2M communication networks: introduction

5.2 A panorama of heterogeneous technologies

5.3 From capillary to IP networks

5.4 Going up to the M2M cloud

5.5 M2M market as internetworking enabler

5.6 Future trends

6: Weightless machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless technology using TV white space: developing a standard


6.1 Why a new standard is needed

6.2 The need for spectrum

6.3 TV white space as a solution

6.4 Designing a new technology to fit M2M and white space

6.5 Weightless: the standard designed for M2M in shared spectrum

6.6 Establishing a standards body

6.7 Conclusions

7: Supporting machine-to-machine communications in long-term evolution networks



7.1 Introduction to M2M in LTE

7.2 Main technical challenges and existing solutions

7.3 Integrating MTC traffic into a human-centric system: a techno-economic perspective

7.4 Business implications for MTC in LTE

7.5 Conclusions

Part Two: Access, scheduling, mobility and security protocols

8: Traffic models for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications: types and applications


8.1 Introduction

8.2 Generic methodology for traffic modeling

8.3 M2M traffic modeling

8.4 Model fitting from recorded traffic

8.5 Conclusions

9: Random access procedures and radio access network (RAN) overload control in standard and advanced long-term evolution (LTE and LTE-A) networks



9.1 Introduction

9.2 E-UTRAN access reservation protocol

9.3 Extended access barring protocol

9.4 Alternative E-UTRAN load control principles

9.5 Overview of core network challenges and solutions for load control

9.6 Ongoing 3GPP work on load control

9.7 Resilience to overload through protocol re-engineering

9.8 Conclusion

10: Packet scheduling strategies for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications over long-term evolution (LTE) cellular networks


10.1 State of the art in M2M multiple access in legacy cellular systems

10.2 Signaling and scheduling limitations for M2M over LTE

10.3 Existing approaches for M2M scheduling over LTE

10.4 Novel approaches for M2M scheduling over LTE

10.5 Technology innovations and challenges for M2M scheduling over wireless networks beyond 2020

10.6 Conclusions

11: Mobility management for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications



11.1 Introduction

11.2 Use cases for M2M mobility

11.3 Challenges of M2M mobility

11.4 Infrastructure considerations for mobility in M2M

11.5 State-of-the-art solutions

11.6 Summary and conclusions

12: Advanced security taxonomy for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in 5G capillary networks


12.1 Introduction

12.2 System architecture

12.3 System assets

12.4 Security threats

12.5 Types of attacks

12.6 Layers under attack

12.7 Security services

12.8 Security protocols and algorithms

12.9 Concluding remarks

13: Establishing security in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication devices and services


13.1 Introduction

13.2 Requirements and constraints for establishing security in M2M communications

13.3 Trust models in M2M ecosystems

13.4 Protecting credentials through their lifetime in M2M systems

13.5 Security bootstrap in the M2M system

13.6 Bridging M2M security to the last mile: from WAN to LAN

13.7 Conclusion

Part Three: Network optimization for M2M communications

14: Group-based optimization of large groups of devices in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications networks


14.1 Introduction

14.2 Mobile network optimizations for groups of M2M devices

14.3 Managing large groups of M2M subscriptions

14.4 Group-based messaging

14.5 Policy control for groups of M2M devices

14.6 Groups and group identifiers

14.7 Conclusions

15: Optimizing power saving in cellular networks for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications


15.1 Introduction

15.2 Extended idle mode for M2M devices

15.3 Paging idle-mode M2M device in a power-efficient manner

15.4 Power saving for uplink data transmission

15.5 Conclusions

16: Increasing power efficiency in long-term evolution (LTE) networks for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications


16.1 Introduction

16.2 M2M scenarios

16.3 3GPP status and work

16.4 Introduction to basic LTE procedures

16.5 UE power consumption in LTE

16.6 Discussion and conclusion

17: Energy and delay performance of machine-type communications (MTC) in long-term evolution-advanced (LTE-A)


17.1 Introduction

17.2 Technology background

17.3 Analytic performance assessment

17.4 Performance assessment via simulation

17.5 Numerical results

17.6 Conclusion and further research directions


Part Four: Business models and applications

18: Business models for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications


18.1 Introduction

18.2 An overview of M2M from a commercial perspective

18.3 A brief history of M2M

18.4 The potential for M2M

18.5 The benefits of M2M

18.6 Business models for M2M

18.7 The return on investment

19: Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for smart cities


19.1 Introduction

19.2 Smart city technologies

19.3 M2M smart city platform

19.4 Financing M2M deployments in smart cities

19.5 The ten smart city challenges

19.6 Conclusions

20: Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for e-health applications



20.1 Introduction

20.2 M2M network architecture

20.3 Enabling wireless technologies: standards and proprietary solutions

20.4 End-to-end solutions for M2M communication: connectivity and security

20.5 Existing projects

20.6 Concluding remarks



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List of contributors

A. Alexiou     University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece

A. Al-Hezmi     Fraunhofer FOKUS Research Institute, Berlin, Germany

L. Alonso     Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

J. Alonso-Zarate     Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), Barcelona, Spain

S. Andreev     Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland

C. Antón-Haro     Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), Barcelona, Spain

A. Antonopoulos     Telecommunications Technological Centre of Catalonia (CTTC), Barcelona, Spain

D. Barthel     Orange, Paris, France

A. Bartoli     Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

P. Bhat     Vodafone Group Services Ltd, Newbury, UK

B. Cendón     TST, Cantabria, Spain

H. Chao     Research & Innovation Center, Bell Laboratories China, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Co. Ltd, Shanghai, China

A. Corici     Fraunhofer FOKUS Research Institute, Berlin, Germany

M. Di Renzo     CNRS–SUPELEC–Univ. Paris Sud XI, Paris, France

M. Dohler

King’s College, London (KCL), London, UK

Worldsensing, Barcelona, Spain

Worldsensing, London, UK

D. Drajic     Ericsson d.o.o., Belgrade, Serbia

A. Elmangoush     Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

F. Ennesser     Gemalto, Meudon, France

O. Galinina     Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland

H. Ganem     Gemalto, Meudon, France

M. Gerasimenko     Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland

A. Gotsis     University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece

E. Kartsakli     Technical University of Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

Y. Koucheryavy     Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland

A. Kountouris     Orange, Paris, France

S. Krco     Ericsson d.o.o., Belgrade, Serbia

A.S. Lalos     Technical University of Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

M. Laner     Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

A. Laya

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden

T. Magedanz     Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

J. Markendahl     KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden

P. Martigne     Orange, Paris, France

J. Morrish     Machina Research, Reading, UK

N. Nikaein     EURECOM, Biot, France

T. Norp     TNO, Delft, The Netherlands

M. Popovic     Telekom a.d., Belgrade, Serbia

P. Popovski     Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

N.K. Pratas     Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

P. Svoboda     Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

S. Tennina     WEST Aquila srl, L’Aquila, Italy

H. Thomsen     Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

T. Tirronen     Ericsson Research, Jorvas, Finland

C. Verikoukis     Telecommunications Technological Centre of Catalonia (CTTC), Barcelona, Spain

I. Vilajosana     Worldsensing, Barcelona, Spain

K. Wang     Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), Barcelona, Spain

T. Watteyne     Dust Networks Product Group, Linear Technology, Union City, CA, USA

W. Webb     Weightless SIG, Cambridge, UK

J. Wu     Research & Innovation Center, Bell Laboratories China, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Co. Ltd, Shanghai, China

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Introduction to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications

C. Antón-Haro¹; M. Dohler²    ¹ Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), Barcelona, Spain

² King's College London (KCL), London, UK and Worldsensing, Barcelona, Spain


This introductory chapter, by the editors, highlights fundamental concepts related to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. To this end, the concept and ecosystem of M2M are introduced, with emphasis on connectivity technologies and data flows. Then, the market opportunity is explored where challenges and opportunities are also highlighted. Thereupon, examples of commercial rollouts and deployments, as well as experimentations, are discussed. The standards ecosystem is then explored in great detail, where some references to early research projects are also given. Finally, the rationale of the book is provided with some executive summaries to each chapter included.






M2M market



Standards development organization (SDO).


This work is partially supported by the FP7 project NEWCOM# (318306) funded by the European Commission.

1.1 Introducing machine-to-machine

We have witnessed the fixed Internet emerging with virtually every computer being connected today; we are currently witnessing the emergence of the mobile Internet with the exponential explosion of smart phones, tablets, and netbooks. However, both will be dwarfed by the anticipated emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which everyday objects are able to connect to the Internet, tweet, or be queried. While the impact onto economies and societies around the world is undisputed, the technologies facilitating such a ubiquitous connectivity have struggled so far and have only recently commenced to take shape.

1.1.1 Machine-to-machine and the big data opportunity

A cornerstone to this connectivity landscape is and will be machine-to-machine (M2M). M2M generally refers to information and communications technologies (ICT) able to measure, deliver, digest, and react upon information in an autonomous fashion, i.e., with no or really minimal human interaction during deployment, configuration, operation, and maintenance phases.

Flagship examples of M2M technologies are telemetry readings of status of oil and brakes of cars on the move, health state measurements of blood pressure and heartbeat of the elderly, monitoring of corrosion state of oil or gas pipelines, occupancy measurements of parking in cities, remote metering of water consumption, and real-time monitoring of critical parts of a piece of machinery.

While machines do not excel humans in writing poetry, they are definitely industry favorites when it comes to (i) repetitive jobs, like delivering water meter data once a day, and (ii) time-critical jobs with decisions taken within a few milliseconds based on the input of an enormous amount of data, like the real-time monitoring of rotating machinery parts.

M2M is all about big data, notably about (i) real-time, (ii) scalable, (iii) ubiquitous, (iv) reliable, and (v) heterogeneous big data, and thus associated opportunities. These technical properties are instrumental to the ecosystem:

• Indeed, real time allows making optimal and timely decisions based on a large amount of prior collected historical data. The trend is to move away from decision making based on long-term averages to decisions based on real-time or short-term averages, making a real difference to the large amount of nonergodic industrial processes.

• Scalability implies that all involved stakeholders, i.e., technology providers, service companies, and finally end user in a given industry vertical, can scale up the use and deployment where and when needed without jeopardizing prior deployments. Wireless is instrumental when it comes to scalability!

• Ubiquitous deployment and use are important since it allows reaching this critical mass required to make technologies survive long term. A sparse or punctual use of specific M2M technologies makes sense in the bootstrapping phase of the market but is unsustainable in the long term.

• Reliability, often overlooked, means the industry customer gets sensor readings that can be relied on because the system had been calibrated, tested, and certified. A prominent example is the vertical of urban parking, where Google's crowdsourced platform to get parking occupancy had been discontinued since stakeholders in this space preferred to get reliable occupancy messages 24/7 from certified sensors installed at each parking spot, rather than unreliable crowdsourced data, even when offered for free.

• Finally, the big data dream can only be materialized if heterogeneous data, i.e., data from different verticals, are combined to give unprecedented insights into behavior, trends, and opportunities and then also act upon them. In fact, when referring to big in big data, it is less about quantity of data (i.e., large volumes of terabytes of information) but rather the quality of data (i.e., different information streams giving a new comprehension of the field, where one stream could be only a single bit).

The data being delivered by M2M systems are often referred to as the oil of the twenty-first century. It might be coincidental but the M2M data flow resembles the oil processing flow in that it is composed of data (i) upstream, (ii) mash-up, and (iii) downstream:

• Upstream: Here, data are being collected from sensors in the field that deliver the data wirelessly to a gateway via single-hop or mesh networking technologies. The data traverse the Internet and reach dedicated servers or cloud platforms, where they are stored and profiled for further analytics.

• Downstream: Here, business intelligence is applied to the data and intelligent decisions are taken. These are pushed back down to the customer, by either controlling some actuators, displaying some information/alerts in control/service platforms, or simply informing users about issues pertaining to this specific M2M application. Human–computer interfaces (HCI) or even computer–computer interfaces (beyond the typical APIs) will be instrumental in ensuring the offtake of M2M technologies.

• Mash-up: The data processing and business intelligent platforms are likely the most important constituent of emerging M2M systems. Data flows from machines, humans, and the Internet in general will feed intelligent analytics engines, which are able to find trends, optimize processes, and thus make the industry vertical more efficient and effective.

These three constituents are depicted in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1 Upstream (top), downstream (middle), and mash-up (bottom) components for typical industrial M2M turnkey solutions.

1.1.2 Machine-to-machine technology landscape

As for wireless M2M technologies, the ecosystem has so far relied on ZigBee-like and 2G/3G cellular technologies; however, new players are entering the space, such as low-power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth low energy, and proprietary cellular systems. The pros and cons of these are as follows:

• ZigBee-like technologies: IEEE 802.15.4 and derivatives were (and still are) perceived as the holy grail for wireless sensor networking and M2M usage. Indeed, with the latest IEEE 802.15.4e amendments, it has become a very energy-efficient technology, even in the case of multi-hop mesh. However, in its very nature of providing fairly high data rates over short distances, it is against the essence of M2M, which mainly requires very low data rates over large distances. The need for frequent repeaters/gateways and skilled engineers to handle connectivity/radio planning and the lack of a global critical mass when it comes to coverage and deployment/adoption have prevented the predicted growth and will likely be the demise of the technology itself. ZigBee and derivatives have never made the jump from being a technology to being a turnkey solution, i.e., a system that is easy to use to customers whose core business is not dealing with dimensioning wireless. However, this community has achieved something that none of the others have yet: they have penetrated the control community and were able, despite clearly being technically inferior compared to any of the below systems, to become the certified choice for wireless SCADA-like systems (see, e.g., WirelessHART, ISA100.11a, and Wireless M-Bus).

• Low-power Wi-Fi: An interesting contender in the M2M space is emerging in the form of a well-tuned Wi-Fi system. Wi-Fi enjoys an enormous popularity in both the business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B markets, with more than 2bn access points installed and a truly vibrant standardization ecosystem active. There is Wi-Fi coverage virtually anywhere where it is worth taking M2M data. Interestingly, it consumes significantly less energy when transmitting information [1]. This is mainly because data are transmitted in a single hop only when needed, thus requiring the radio to be switched on only at events or regular alive beacons. In contrast, ZigBee-like technologies need to listen periodically for neighbors to transmit data; this consumes in the end more energy than a simple single-hop network. It is thus to no surprise that chip manufacturing giants, like Broadcom [2], have decided to ditch the IEEE 802.15.4 stack for the more promising IEEE 802.11 stack in its gamble for the IoT and M2M market.

• Proprietary cellular: Cellular networks have the enormous advantage of covering large areas to reach multiple M2M devices without the need for repeaters or numerous base stations. A problem with current standardized cellular solutions (2G/3G/LTE) is the fairly slow standardization cycle and high licensing costs associated with enabling every sensor and actuator with such technology. Proprietary solutions have thus emerged, which bridge this gap. Notable players in the field are SIGFOX, Neul, Cycleo, On-Ramp, and lately also the chip giants Texas Instruments (TI) and STMicroelectronics. These technologies are, in general, fairly narrowband—thus enjoying very large link budgets—and connect hundreds if not thousands of devices to a single base station over a large area. While these solutions are technically well elaborate, they are not deemed to be future-proof since they are not standardized. Also, while coverage is guaranteed by the said systems, mobility and roaming are not supported (as of 2014).

• Standardized cellular: Therefore, standardized cellular M2M technologies will be a crucial constituent to the M2M landscape in the next years to come. Cellular systems enjoy worldwide coverage and interoperability, allowing for M2M devices to roam and be on the move. In addition, interference is being handled by centralized radio resource management (RRM) algorithms, which, to a large extent, ensure that there are no coexistence, delay, or throughput problems. It is thus to no surprise that the major standardization bodies, such as 3GPP, IEEE, and ETSI, started standardizing M2M architectures and protocols.

1.1.3 Cellular M2M requirements

Before standardized cellular technologies can be used in the M2M space, the following technical requirements need to be addressed, which contrast completely the requirement on human-driven communications:

• There will be a lot of M2M nodes, i.e., by orders of magnitude more than human connections.

• More and more applications are delay-intolerant, mainly control.

• There will be little traffic per node, mainly in the uplink.

• Nodes need to run autonomously for a long time.

• Automated security and trust mechanisms need to be in place.

This book thus outlines major technical advances that allow the above requirements to be met.

1.2 The machine-to-machine market opportunity

M2M is the underlying communication network connecting sensors, actuators, machines, and objects. The market opportunities are thus directly related to the connectivity of the said devices. This market, in turn, is driven by larger macroeconomic market developments, which rely on the availability of the said M2M networks. Two notable examples of such larger market developments are the Internet of Things (slant toward B2C) and industrial Internet (slant toward B2B). The uptake of these paradigms will be a major boost to the M2M markets, ranging from chip manufacturer to coverage and service providers. This section provides some insights into recent market developments and associated opportunities.

1.2.1 Return-of-investment (ROI) argumentation

A major drive in the uptake of any technology is its ability to return the initial financial investment. There are three major ROI arguments to use M2M technologies:

• Real-time instrumentation ROI: A study by General Electric (see Figure 1.2) has identified the enormous efficiency benefits stemming from real-time instrumentation by means of M2M technologies. The study has looked at verticals like transportation, health, and manufacturing. While the study has not looked at the cost of the instrumentation, the strong ROI drive is evident.

Figure 1.2 Financial returns stemming from real-time instrumentation of various industrial verticals by means of machine-to-machine technologies [ 3 ]. Source: GE estimates/postmedia.

• Big data value ROI: Not so well quantified as of 2014, it is understood to be an enormous value in cross correlating data from different verticals to give unique insights, which the silos would not be able to expose on their own. An example can be found in smart city transportation where M2M data from traffic are cross correlated with weather and sports data, thus allowing to define viable traffic management strategies on days where congestion is likely.

• Wireless ROI: A fairly mundane but nonetheless important drive in rolling out wireless M2M is the fact that getting rid of cables allows achieving substantial CAPEX and OPEX gains. As indicated in Figure 1.3, while electronics and sensors become cheaper over time, human labor and cable costs (due to copper) increase. Going wireless saves cable costs (CAPEX), installation efforts (CAPEX), and system maintenance (OPEX).

Figure 1.3 While computation and sensor costs decrease over time, the cost of human labor and cables is increasing, making a strong ROI case for using wireless M2M technologies.

The above ROI argumentations highlight that there is not only utility in using M2M technologies but also clear financial returns. It is thus to no surprise that markets commence to wake up to the opportunity, which will be scrutinized in the subsequent section.

1.2.2 Market overview

While M2M technologies have been so far about increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs (see above discussion on ROI), it is now seen by industries as a true enabler for innovative services, which would have not been possible without M2M.

The M2M market is mainly business-to-business (B2B)-focused. However, due to its very nature of connectivity, it connects many previously unconnected businesses and thus acts as a catalyst for B2B2B. It is, however, still very silo-based where an M2M technology is purpose-designed for a specific market and application; and the generated data are rarely shared beyond that silo.

As shown in Figure 1.4, the major M2M service sectors are the following:

Figure 1.4 M2M market overview with different application domains [ 4 ].

• Energy: Sector of utmost importance for the M2M market, which is increasingly serving the energy upstream and downstream sectors. The technology is used to improve efficiency and reduce crew cost for seismic acquisition, used in oil and gas exploration, fracking, and carbon storage. It is also instrumental in increasing the operational efficiency of the energy grid, be it along the transportation network, along the distribution network, or in the form of smart meters at the consumer premises.

• Industrial: M2M is used here to instrument machineries and various industrial components of high value and heavy industry manufacturing. It is instrumental for safety and for ensuring higher efficiencies.

• Transportation: The technology is used here to monitor traffic conditions and improve traffic flux, parking experiences, and safety, among others. It is one of the more popular markets for M2M today (2014).

• Retail: Anything related to optimizing the supply chain, warehouses, or stores is within the realm of M2M in this market.

• Security and safety: M2M is used here to provide tracking and surveillance, both fixed and mobile. The bandwidth requirements, particularly for surveillance, are often the highest among all M2M applications, which is due to frequent video transmissions.

• Healthcare: It is a truly emerging market with the aim to use M2M technologies to increase the ability to monitor patients in real time, among others. The main areas are clinical applications and usage in well-being (e.g., fitness monitors).

• Buildings: M2M technology is here used to improve the efficiency of the building in terms of energy consumption, waste management, carbon footprint, etc. It is also being used to improve the well-being of the people residing in the building, be it to regulate the heating, air-conditioning, or solar flares.

Traditionally, the beneficiaries of the above markets were M2M chip manufacturers and integrators thereof. However, with growing markets and maturing technologies, new stakeholders emerge in this space. The established and emerging M2M market players, and their interaction, can be summarized as follows:

• Component manufacturers: At the beginning of the value chain are component manufacturers, which gear up for the manufacturing of billions of components. These pertain to the production of chips, batteries, casings, smart/SIM cards, and antennas, among others. While volumes are large in these segments, margins are often tight as technology is often standardized and the competitive edge thus often in quick time to market and price.

• Integrators: The ecosystem of integrators, which use off-the-shelf components to assemble products and optimize them for use in specific markets and industry verticals, is critical to a proper use and uptake of M2M technologies. Since these are often IT-originated companies selling into large and unchallenged non-IT companies (and mainly heavy industry verticals), margins are fairly large.

• Operators: Integrators have realized that providing industry-compliant connectivity and running M2M networks is a challenging and arduous task, which is often out of the core business of the integrators. To this end, operators are increasingly involved in M2M deployments, which handle connectivity, coverage, and availability of M2M equipment. Many emerging M2M markets require an increasing degree of mobility and support of roaming, being the core competence of traditional cellular and network operators. Providing connectivity has evolved into a commodity service, which is why margins here are fairly moderate, despite playing a major role in the uptake and growth of M2M technologies.

• Platform providers: Given the large amount of data involved in M2M deployments, a strong ecosystem of platform providers has emerged. General purpose horizontal platforms and market-specific platforms are emerging, where the former are more commonly found in B2B and the latter in the emerging B2C. These platforms include not only data processing and big data analytics but also storage capabilities (an issue often overlooked when rollout out M2M applications). We observe a strong shift to cloud platforms, as well as emerging app store-like approaches. Because the said platforms work on data volume that is not yet available in many emerging M2M markets, margins today are very unreliable; however, it is expected that—once this community is able to gather large data sets and cross correlate them across industry silos—sales margins will substantially increase.

• Service providers: Finally, the ecosystem of true service providers is emerging. These use technology and platforms to service certain markets. M2M is an enabler for these industries, with a unique selling point being their ability to add business intelligence and experience in process controls.

Predictions on the market volumes and addressable market sizes vary greatly for each of these players and thus are not further provided. However, we provide in Table 1.1 some historical data and predictions on the growth of M2M cellular module manufacturers by application. One observes the rapid growth and thus corroborates the market pull. Not shown here but, interestingly, the most used air interface is GSM, which is due to its technical capabilities of handling low-rate traffic in an energy-efficient manner. In addition, worldwide coverage is excellent, and modems are affordable. 3G UMTS technology is less energy-efficient, enjoys less coverage, and has more expensive modems. However, given that most 2G networks will be phased out shortly, the 3G M2M families will be increasingly used. LTE and LTE-A are technically very suitable to M2M but the modems, mainly due to patent costs, are very expensive to date. As for the application domains, the automotive industry logically uses cellular M2M technologies most since it requires mobility and roaming support, which are both native to cellular designs.

Table 1.1

Development of cellular M2M modules deployment by air interface

Courtesy of ABI Research, June 2014.

World market, end-user basis forecast: 2011 and 2019.

1.2.3 Market challenges and opportunities

To finalize the high-level market analysis of M2M, we shall highlight not only major challenges but also major opportunities.

• Challenge of long sale cycles: In B2B, M2M sales are exposed to long sale cycles. Between the first contact and final deal, easily, 2–4 years can pass. Given that a lot of innovative M2M solutions will come from startups or small companies, this is a major strain on their cash flow and needs to be watched out for. Once a project is assigned, there is also the danger that smaller businesses fail simply due to the large size of the projects.

• Challenge of breaking silos: Arguably, the largest opportunity for M2M is to capitalize on data streams, which come from different industrial silos. To bring different silos together, however, is a major challenge, and there are ample examples from the past where this has not worked out.

• Opportunity of big data: Eventually, the M2M market will shift from focusing on providing connectivity to capitalizing on the actual data content, i.e., make the most of big data. This allows for the crucial shift from monitoring industries to actually optimizing them.

More in-depth market studies are provided in later chapters in this book. We move now on to some commercial and experimental examples of M2M networks.

1.3 Examples of commercial and experimental M2M network rollouts

No doubt, the importance and economic impact of M2M are on the rise. Vodafone's M2M adoption barometer [5] reveals that two-thirds out of the companies surveyed (some 600) are considering or in the process of implementing M2M solutions in their business within the next two years. The fact that major telcos such as Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, Telenor, and Sprint have set up dedicated portals on this technology constitutes one more evidence of that. However, concerns about cost vs. potential benefit trade-offs turns out to be one of the major barriers for M2M adoption [5].

This section, on the one hand, aims to report on a number of commercial rollouts. The goal is to illustrate how M2M was successfully adopted in a variety of vertical markets. On the other, it provides a succinct description of several pilots and field trials that could turn into commercial services in a near future. Given the vast amount of commercial and experimental deployments worldwide, this section cannot but provide the reader with a small (yet, in our opinion, representative) sample of ongoing work in this area.

1.3.1 Commercial rollouts

Smart energy grids (electricity, water, and gas) have become a fertilized area for M2M rollouts. Midwest Energy, for instance, installed control units allowing farmers to monitor and control the electricity consumption of the irrigation pumps deployed in their fields [6]. On the one hand, this saves time for farmers who can avoid turning pumps on and off manually. On the other hand, this gives utilities the ability to implement demand response programs and, by doing so, prevent energy consumption peaks. Specifically, pumps become partly controlled by the utility that can inhibit their operation when electricity consumption is too high in households (e.g., due to air-conditioning system activity in hot summer afternoons). In exchange for that, farmers receive economic incentives from the utility company. For a similar agricultural irrigation scenario, Idaho Power reports reductions in the annual electricity bill in the range 12–27% for those adhering to their PeakRewards program [7]. From a technical point of view, data connectivity here is provided by a combination of satellite and cellular networks.

Similarly, the National Grid Energy Corporation, a company with over 3.4 million gas customers in the northeast of the United States, also runs a demand-side management program. Accurate meter readings with hourly consumption data (leveraging on two-way wireless cellular connectivity such as GSM and CDMA) make it possible for the utility to temporarily remove from the distribution system large users (e.g., factories, schools, and government buildings) as they switch to a local oil- or gas-based energy source. These interruptible users help mitigate the constraints imposed by the finite capacity of the generation and/or distribution system (i.e., pipelines), in particular in cold seasons. The first trial was conducted in New York City in 2004–2005 and by the end of 2007, over 2500 units had already been installed [8].

Unlike in the previous examples, utilities like Iberdrola, the first energy group in Spain, have resorted to wired communication technologies for smart metering infrastructure rollouts [9]. The specifications of the so-called PRIME (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution) technology, which is OFDM-based, were finalized and published in 2008. Iberdrola was the first Spanish utility to pilot PRIME PLC technology. The project in Castellón, which ran until 2011, covered 100,000 metering points that were deployed in both urban and rural areas. After its successful completion, the company engaged in a mass deployment of 1,300,000 additional smart meters until 2013.

M2M connectivity can also be instrumental for the provision of sustainable energy access in developing countries where, interestingly, GSM coverage is quite extensive [10]. For instance, SharedSolar deploys microgrids connecting up to 20 families in countries like Mali, Uganda, or Haiti. Their gateways allow not only to monitor consumption in real time but also to enable payments via SMS and 2G (initially, through prepaid scratch cards). In 2012, there were 245 households connected to the SharedSolar platform. Similarly, M-KOPA in Kenya provides solar home systems in rural areas on a pay-as-you-go basis. The system enables the customer not only to pay for energy consumption but also to finance the high initial costs that acquiring/installing a solar panel entails.

Smart cities are becoming an increasingly important vertical market for M2M, with applications ranging from air quality monitoring to security or traffic control, to name a few. Traffic congestion and parking, in particular, have become enormous problems in many cities, but fortunately, they can be partly alleviated by resorting to smart parking systems based on M2M. Typically, such systems are capable of (i) keeping track of the status of the available parking spaces, (ii) wirelessly conveying this information to a centralized server, and (iii) guiding drivers to them by means of on-street displays. Not only does this alleviate traffic congestion but also it has the side benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As an example of such systems, the city of Moscow has recently awarded a tender for the rollout of its smart parking system [11]. More innovative projects such as SFpark in San Francisco dynamically assigns parking pricing based on real-time supply and demand law [12].

Finally, M2M has also an important role to play in other sectors such as insurance or fleet control. For the former, Telefonica and Generali Seguros launched in February 2013 the so-called Pago como conduzco (paying the way you drive) service [13]. Data on journeys (e.g., number of kilometers, time of the day, to what extent speed limits are kept, and number of sudden braking or accelerations) are collected by a device installed in the vehicle. Such device conveys data via cellular networks to an application, which, in turn, computes the premium that allows savings of up to 40% for drivers with good habits. Customers can also monitor their ratings as drivers via a mobile app or a portal.

For fleet control scenarios, the United Kingdom-based company Trafficmaster and the Norwegian company Telenor Connexion have developed a stolen vehicle-tracking application with global (i.e., worldwide) footprint [14]. This can be achieved by means of a customized M2M subscriber identification module (SIM) plus a personalized roaming profile and price plan, which facilitates a cost-effective solution for this service.

1.3.2 Pilots and field trials

In a logistics context, TST Sistemas has developed an M2M system for stock management in hospitals of items such as drugs or surgery materials [15]. The system, still in a test bed phase, monitors the corresponding stock levels, relieving medical personnel (e.g., nurses) from such burden. It is based on ETSI's M2M hybrid architecture and combines a number of wireless and wired technologies, such as NFC (for devices in charge of reading the level of remaining stocks) or UTRAN, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Ethernet, for data transmission.

The smart grid test bed deployed in Jeju Island in South Korea goes one step beyond the DSM commercial rollouts described earlier in this section. The goal here is to move from a closed utility system to an open service platform capable of managing, in real time, millions of meters, feeder automation devices, and distributed generation assets [16]. For telco operators, the challenge lies in (i) dealing with large amounts of data in real time and (ii) providing two-way low-latency communication network guaranteeing the stability and security of the electricity grid.

In an mHealth context, Ericsson, Dialog Axiata, and Asiri Surgical Hospital conducted a study in Sri Lanka to assess, with a dedicated pilot, the feasibility of remote patient monitoring via M2M [17]. Selected patients suffering from cardiac diseases were equipped with noninvasive wireless sensor capable of monitoring vital signs. The collected sensor data were transmitted via a Bluetooth radio interface to a communication device. In turn, the device conveyed data over a 3G/GPRS network to a remote application for further analysis by medical personnel. The emphasis here was mostly on usability aspects. The study concluded that the mHealth solution was more useful for patients rather than for healthy individuals, who had concerns about carrying, e.g., bulky measurement devices (pulse oximeter and blood pressure monitor) during working hours. Users were also in favor of replacing the aforementioned communication device by a regular mobile phone.

Finally, there are also some salient examples of pilot deployments for smart cities. This includes, for instance, the large-scale M2M platform deployed in Santander, Spain [18]. From an application point of view, its target is twofold: (i) environmental monitoring, on the basis of the measurements (noise and pollution) collected by the platform, and (ii) helping drivers find a free parking space. The platform is composed of sensors, actuators, cameras, and screens to offer useful information to citizens. It is conceived as an open platform in that it allows conducting remote experiments (applications and protocols) by third parties. Still, in a context of environmental monitoring applications, a related test bed was deployed in Belgrade, Serbia [19]. The twist here was the usage of mobile sensors (mounted on public transportation vehicles such as buses) in order to increase the size of the monitoring area.

1.4 Machine-to-machine standards and initiatives

Market fragmentation and lack of global standards are frequent criticisms of M2M communication systems. The harmonization of technologies at a global scale is addressed in standards development organizations (SDOs), on the one hand, and industrial associations or special interest groups (SIGs), on the other. Sections 1.4.1 and 1.4.2 attempt to provide a global picture of both. Next, a number of supra-SDO and supra-SIG initiatives are succinctly described in Section 1.4.3. In addition to all of these, special attention must be paid to enhancing current M2M technologies in order to make them future-proof. Section 1.4.4 thus focuses on a number of research and innovation projects, which investigate tomorrow's M2M communication networks.

1.4.1 Standards development organizations

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) produces global ICT standards including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast, and Internet technologies. In ETSI, most of the standardization work in the M2M arena is conducted within the machine-to-machine communications technical committee (TC-M2M). This committee was established in 2009 with the mission of ensuring that M2M services deployed worldwide are interoperable. Figure 1.5 provides an overview

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