Top m2m Trends for 2015

Published by Surya Mendonça IoT General

2014 is coming to an end and I would like to take some time to look at the challenges that lie ahead as we did last year. Most trends we predicted have been the essence of the IoT during the ending year.

In only a few years, m2m has gone from being a business option to becoming the fabric that makes business models survive and evolve to meet the demands of smart cities, connected citizens and in general a hyper-connected world in many key industries. These are the ten IoT Trends I recommend to follow in 2015:

Utilities and Government are determined to provide policies that assure energy efficiency and responsible action to fight against global warming. International Sustainability Treaties will demand effective measures from governments worldwide.

In the UK, Telefónica is deploying the Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP)– the most important m2m project worldwide – that will provide 53 million smart meters over the next few years in 30 million households. The benefits for Utilities and National Economy surpasses 18 Billion pounds – according to UK government estimations.

Other industrialised countries are sure to take note. They now have a successful model to follow in order to comply with the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases, cut spending and extend the use of renewable energy sources.

We continue to identify a strong response from the market and we expect the transport market to be one of the pillars of the connected world of tomorrow.

Solid m2m Fleet Management solutions are expanding worldwide. The fastest growing players are capitalizing on plug-and-play devices that turn existing fleets into connected fleets such as Telefónica and Geotab’s Fleet Management Solution.

In the current economic downturn that stagnates most markets, the most vigorous countries are emerging nations like Brazil where there is still space for vast improvement and customers that today demand different services like stolen vehicle recovery will soon move into other value-added fleet management features.

Connected Cars
End Users will engage with Connected Car solutions more than with anything else in the years to come. Our Annual Connected Car Report has already detected this latent demand. Hardware and Apps that adapt to existing cars will be the preferred solution in the short and mid-term. Through simple to install plug-and-play technologies we can boost automotive features of existing ‘unconnected’ vehicles in an unprecedented way like Telefónica’s O2 Car Connection, which will soon become available in other Telefónica strategic markets – such as Brazil.

Car manufacturers will also rely on mobile network operators to deliver the technological know-how in strategic partnerships to provide connected cars with connectivity. The Telefónica-Tesla agreement for Europe is an example of cross country connected car partnerships that will become the industry’s landscape.

Industrial solutions
The success of m2m is based on strong vertical solutions that impact millions of people but also in the combined strength of hundreds of packaged solutions for very specific industrial uses improving mostly manual procedures. The strength of this long tail is the strength of m2m as a game changer for many industries. Implementing technology to gain competitive advantage will continue to trend in the years to come. This wave of specific solutions address the particular needs of a motley crew of industries, corporations and governmental offices as diverse as lift manufacturers, signage companies, oil companies, or city councils.

As mobility becomes crucial, component prices keep falling in our sensorized-world. Using connected drones that can be remotely operated through m2m to address needs where manual labour is either dangerous or very expensive is becoming time and again the preferred option. 2014 has not surprisingly become in many aspects the year of the drones. Firefighting, crop dusting, railway surveillance or courier delivery are just a few of the many uses that are barely starting to surface. We expect 2015 to still see the rise of interesting and exciting applications for these connected civil drones.

Sensors to connect everything in a world of wearables
The world is full of sensors, some passive waiting to be polled, while others actively measure all sorts of information (from heartbeats to temperature or humidity). If something can be measured it is prone to have a sensor to connect to the IoT. The way goods are designed, manufactured, sold and maintained is changing with m2m technology connecting manufacturers to end customers through sensors in components throughout the whole life cycle of the item.

People may be wearing or carrying several sensors without even noticing them (RFID tags in their clothes, the Bluetooth in their headphones, the SIM, and NFC chips inside smartphones, or the GPS signal in a watch are just a few examples) at any given moment.

Big Data to Connect everywhere
Having everything you can imagine (and more) with a sensor is only the beginning. To unleash the full power of the IoT, devices must relay information in a meaningful way to a Big Data backend. Its capacity to offer relevant information in exchange for measuring everything will gauge the overall usefulness and success. Digital Signage is a perfect example of how this information meshes to offer new services to businesses and end users.

The IoT and Analytics
The competitive advantage of using the IoT versus traditional technologies or industrial methods is the advanced real time information that allows decision making to take place in the same moment events unfold therefore maximizing efficiency and investment. Different technologies mesh in invisible ways to allow deeply connected yet invisible to the eye connections to provide the relevant information you need.

Open Hardware and Standards
Having open standards that allow different connecting technologies to exchange information is crucial for the IoT to become as core to civilization as electricity or fossil fuels are nowadays.

One of the most benefitted business areas by open standard are wearables and consumer electronics in general. The easier manufacturers make interconnecting different brands, communication technologies, – and in general making the most of a Big Data backend – the faster the adoption rate (and usefulness) will be.

When different technologies from different manufacturers acquire the capacity of meshing in a seamless way for users when interacting, then wearables will go from promises to life changing devices that truly extend the way we interact with the world.

Programming standards like Arduino, and open hardware makes a ubiquitous IoT closer for everyone. European initiatives such as FI-WARE, allow application interoperability, by offering a set of open APIs to empower developers and avoid burdening ties to specific vendors, protecting the developer’s application investment.

The security of the IoT
Technology advocates know that security must be addressed simultaneously to the adoption of disruptive technology. Now that the future of Identity Management seems to lie in the hands of the IoT, creating trustworthy frameworks users can rely on is crucial. Although a fully secure environment is not possible, it is important to lay down the foundations of solid risk assessment and mitigation mechanisms at the same pace technology is implemented. As Gartner puts it “all roads to the digital future lead through security”


Surya Mendonça
Telefonica Global M2M Director