Machine-to-Machine: Vision 2020
Is India ready to seize a USD 4.5 trillion M2M opportunity?
Machine-to-machine (M2M) would make those things possible and affordable, which are currently not feasible to be delivered, in a vast country like India. Technologies that enable M2M communication such as GPS unit, RFID, GPRS modules, etc. have much to offer to the developing world towards improving quality of life. In fact, these next-generation communication technologies may well originate in the larger growth markets of the developing world, particularly – China and India.
M2M can help in achieving many Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations through useful applications for medical diagnosis and treatment, cleaner water, improved sanitation, energy conservation, the export of commodities and food security. These M2M applications and services aim at improving the operational efficiency, productivity and collaboration.
M2M could help in solving some of the basic challenges being faced by India in terms of lack of infrastructure for healthcare, education, banking, etc. It could bring about radical change in the traffic congestion, accidents, emergency services, payments systems and ticketing, etc. – some of the critical areas faced in day to day life. Smartphones and tablets are helping to control and to monitor hundreds of connected devices at home, office, car, and other possible places. This leads to enormous opportunities for smart homes, smart cars, and even smart cities, where everything is connected and could be controlled remotely.
M2M applications have a great potential to transform businesses. It will challenge companies to be innovative in the same way as mobile internet did. Given the diverse nature of M2M applications, some sectors will be more successful and emerge as a winner amongst others. The opportunity for mobile network operators (MNOs) lies in moving up the value chain vis-à-vis just providing data carriage services. The need of the hour for MNOs lies in providing end-to-end services. However, for M2M to gain acceptance among the general populace, service providers and others players in the value chain are required to deliver applications that bring tangible value to peoples’ lives.
Several barriers, however, have the potential to slowdown the development and adoption of M2M applications. Deployment of IPv6, sensor energy, standards in terms of security, privacy and architecture, current low-cost business models, network upgrades and regulatory compliances will pose challenges for all players in the M2M ecosystem. Since M2M technologies would cater to several industries such as healthcare, education, automotive, agriculture, telecom networks will need to support these vertical-tailored applications as per business and regulatory requirements.
However, despite these challenges, the enormous benefits and opportunities make M2M an untamed driver of innovation and economic growth throughout developed and developing countries. It’s time to overcome these challenges and unleash its full potential.
As per the World Bank study, a 10% increase in mobile and broadband penetration increases the per capita GDP by 0.81% and 1.38% respectively in the developing countries. This increase in GDP on account of telecom penetration can get further multiplier effect through M2M communication penetration. Hence, it is imperative to focus on M2M communication from a strategic growth perspective for the country.