The promise of M2M
The utilities applications of machine to machine communication
Farid Faraidooni, CCO for du, considers the applications of machine to machine communication for utilities
After triple-play and quad-play, all the talk in telco sectors is about the next big idea of tera-play and the development of a worldwide network of a trillion connected devices hooked up using machine-to-machine telco communication networks.
In so-called M2M communications, a device such as a sensor or meter is used to capture an event, such as a change in temperature or a shift in inventory level, which is relayed through the telco wireless or wired network to an application or software programme.
This effectively translates the captured event into meaningful and actionable information - for example, revision of a weather warning, or refresh of goods held in stock. This is accomplished through the use of telemetry, the language machines use when in communication with each other.
In the UAE, Minister of Environment and Water Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahd has said a project that uses M2M to monitor and reduce energy use in citizen’s homes and offices could reduce domestic carbon footprints by 30%.
It’s estimated that over 70% of all the power consumed in the UAE is used to cool and light buildings. M2M systems can be programmed to automatically turn down air conditioners and turn off lights when people are asleep or away.
Interestingly, M2M has been around for many years and to date has been one of the slowest-burning markets in the industry. It is hot again today because of the confluence of three key drivers.
The impact of scale has finally made the economics of M2M practicable. There is a rising importance given to connectivity across a full spectrum of consumer electronics devices. And finally, we have seen the advent of the device management software, which makes it possible for solutions to be deployed on an industrial scale.
Smart energy/smart grid, which continues to build momentum, has become one of the most popular M2M applications over the last year, and all the major countries including the UAE have smart energy or smart grid programmes in place today.
Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) is about to complete its smart metering programme, which allows for a fully automatic meter reading along with a meter intelligence monitoring and data capturing system.
Of ADWEA’s 500,000 customers in Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain, around 80% have been wired up to the smart grid, it is reported. Market watchers agree that M2M communication is starting to have a radical and far-reaching impact on consumers, lifestyle and business, as it plays out across every type of scenario.
Farid Faraidooni is the Chief Commercial Officer for du, the UAE’s telecommunication giant that now serves over 5 million people since opening for business in 2006. The company currently boasts over 40,000 business customers, and has a workforce of more than 2,000.