OMA joins oneM2M

September 27, 2012
The oneM2M Partnership was established this summer to drive creation of international standards for M2M Services. The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) has now joined oneM2M as its first Type 2 partner. The seven founding partners are the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB), the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) of Japan, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) of the USA, the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of Korea.
Every single initiative to establish interoperability between M2M services and devices across networks helps speeding up development and deployment of M2M solutions. Since the M2M market is tremendously fragmented the standardization efforts are quite difficult. But every step taken will make the M2M service layer more robust.

More on mobile M2M

September 17, 2012

The recent announcement from AT&T that they will shut down their 2G network latest year-end 2016 has been discussed a lot lately. It is safe to say that mobile operators in developed markets will continue transitioning their handset users and networks towards 3G and 3G LTE. But mobile operators in general have a growing number of M2M terminals in their networks and they know that over 90% of them are using 2G modules today. Many of them are recently deployed and expected to run without intervention for maybe another five to ten years. Going there, changing SIM, terminal or in worst case the entire device is a very costly thing to do. This is probably why mobile operators in general don’t talk about when they plan to terminate their 2G networks. And I don’t think we will see many announcements like the AT&T one for the next few years, especially not in Europe. Also, let us not forget that many operators in developing countries only have 2G so it will definitely be around for quite some time.

Over the air provisioning of SIM-cards will solve some of the 2G sunset problems but if you need another module in your terminal it will obviously not help. One or two operators in a market, or why not an MVNO, can gather all the 2G terminals and continue service them until the bitter end. The remaining operators would lose some clients but free themselves to go wild on 3 and 4G.

More and more new M2M solutions are using 3G and 3G LTE now. This is natural especially when applications are data rich and require low latency. At Qualcomm IQ last week in Berlin, Steve Mollenkopf, President & COO Qualcomm, stated that one million new 3G connections are added each day. Most of them are not M2M but it means that 3G network capacity and coverage is rapidly improved around the world. And modules and components are coming down in price as volumes grow. And even 3G LTE is spreading. According to Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) 96 operators have launched commercial LTE services in 46 countries so far. But the recent announcement of iPhone 5 reminds of the fragmented frequencies of 3G LTE which needs to be taken into account when looking at a specific M2M 3G LTE solution. 3G LTE uses frequencies between 698 MHz – 3800 MHz, divided in 25 bands for FDD (Frequency division duplex) and 11 bands for TDD (Time division duplex).

Inspiring example: tracking birds

September 11, 2012

Keeping track of things can create a lot of value. It has already been exploited in various ways to keep track of things like goods, cars, boats, kids, containers and pets. But combinations of weight, cost, size and technology have been limiting the use significantly.

I always claim that as long as we know what we want to achieve, we have technology today to solve it. In the case of real-time tracking, spectacular progress has been made over the last few years. Let me share an exciting example.

A traditional way to track birds has been to secure an RF transmitter on the bird and manually detect the radio beacons by using at least two receivers with directional antennas on ground. This difficult and all manual process is disturbed by bad weather and each individual bird needs to have a transmitter using a unique frequency. The poor data provides little information about each bird’s movements and life.

Today birds in the Balkans are tracked real-time by using an ultralight and ultra-efficient M2M-solution sending information every ten or five minutes to a monitoring central. The solution on the bird includes a GPS receiver, solar panel, battery, an accelerometer, a micro processor and a GSM module using GPRS to send the data. The weight of the gear is 70 grams, the dimensions are 90 x 46 x 15 mm and it is supposed to work for at least 3 years.

Animal tracking devices must in general weigh less than 5% of the animal’s weight so the solution can be carried by birds heavier than 1,4 kg. But there is already an effort to bring down weight of the tracking device to 25 grams for birds heavier than half a kilo.

Now the researchers can leave their rubber boots and directional antennas at home to focus on understanding the great information collected. And the important efforts to protect rare birds hopefully give better results. But what could be tracked in your organization to create value and maybe change the game?

Inspiring example: use of M2M to change behavior

September 8, 2012

The key deliverables of M2M are efficiency, security and sustainability. M2M can also deliver convenience which mainly is relevant for the people involved. Well designed M2M implementations often deliver across all of these areas.

Public bus transportation is an important part of the transportation system. To pick the bus should be safe, energy-smart and help improve efficiency in the city. And except for peak hours when buses might be full, the ride should be convenient. But even though buses are quite similar the drivers have different driving style. A recent study at the University of Lund concludes that it is more dangerous to go by bus than by car in cities. Injuries from traffic accidents with buses are rare but a lot of people hurt themselves when they fall during the ride, when jumping on or off the bus or at the bus stop. This is one area where the driver makes a difference. Energy consumption, impact on traffic flow and convenience for the passengers are other areas where the bus drivers knowledge and style makes difference.

The public bus company in the city of Borås in Sweden are now installing a M2M system in the buses which measures how well the drivers drive. The metric used is passenger comfort and a lamp indicates performance: red means poor, yellow is ok and green is great.

I like this a lot since it’s an easy way to improve something in many different ways. Just by showing the performance the drivers will improve their driving – it is an old truth that what is measured gets better. The project makes the company and it’s employees aligned to what is considered important. And last but not least, the “red drivers” get training and the “green drivers” a bonus. What a wonderful way to make things better.

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