How m2m technology can boost the economy, jobs and social wellbeing in Europe

Published by Graham Trickey IoT Connectivity Hub, Smart Mobility, Energy

The GSMA’s Connected Living Programme is an initiative designed to help operators add value and accelerate the delivery of new connected devices and services in the Machine to Machine (M2M) market.

M2M –which we see as a subset of the Internet of Things (IoT)– accounted for 2.8% of all global mobile connections (195 million at the end of 2013), indicating that the sector is still at a relatively early stage in its development.

However, in the longer term we believe M2M technology –supported by cross-industry collaboration- will have a fundamental impact on the way we live and work, reducing waste and inefficiencies and delivering major social and environmental benefits in sectors such as security, healthcare, transportation and logistics, education and energy amongst many others.

In the enterprise it will make dramatic improvements to decision making and productivity and will contribute to economic growth by creating new business opportunities for mobile operators, equipment vendors and other players in the mobile ecosystem.

The opportunity for M2M in Europe is huge. It is already home to many of the world’s most active operators in the M2M space –approximately two-thirds of European operators have an M2M offering– with services available to both the consumer and enterprise markets.

In particular, Scandinavian countries including Sweden, Norway and Finland are some of the most mature M2M markets in the world. According to Analyst Research firm Machina Research, the European M2M market is developing at an incredible pace with 5.7 billion total connected devices expected by 2020, of which 1.7 billion are expected to be cellular connections (2G, 3G and 4G).

Europe benefits from governmental support. Initiatives such as Emergency Call (eCall) –which uses on-board sensors to detect accidents and call emergency services– must now be installed in every car by 2015, a factor helping to accelerate growth of M2M in the automotive industry, an industry that is expected to account for approximately 50% of all wireless M2M connections in Europe.

The GSMA’s Embedded SIM specification, which enables operators and their customers to activate, swap or change network subscriptions over-the-air without having to physically access the module containing the SIM, has been created to address the connected car market as well as other sectors where M2M modules are located in difficult, hazardous or remote locations such as in chemical plants or pipelines, for example.

M2M will usher in numerous benefits for consumers across the continent, enhancing our quality of life in multiple ways. Smart homes that integrate connected smart devices and cloud-based services will address issues around security and energy efficiency, helping to reduce bills and outages whilst improving home security via remote monitoring.

mHealth solutions are helping doctors to remotely monitor their patients at home through the use of a range of smart connected devices, helping to widen access to care and improve the quality of life for patients while reducing the strain on the wider healthcare system.

mEducation solutions are improving learners’ proficiency rates and reducing dropouts and have the potential to help with the education of students in developing countries.

The development of smart grids, data analytics and autonomous vehicles will provide an intelligent platform to deliver innovations in energy management, traffic management and security, sharing the benefits of this technology throughout society.

The GSMA continues to work with the mobile industry to help deliver the myriad benefits of M2M technology to consumers and enterprises but close industry collaboration, appropriate regulation and network optimisation will be required in order to support the growth of M2M in the immediate future and the Internet of Things in the longer term.

Graham Trickey
Head of Connected Living Programme, GSMA