Logistics companies track the route of a container on the high seas in real time via a web portal. A stolen solar module is traced to within ten meters anywhere in the world. A Munich-based service engineer controls a compressor located in Abu Dhabi. These examples begin to illustrate the significance of machine-to-machine communications, or M2M.
Experts define M2M as the automatic exchange of information either between objects such as machines, vehicles and containers among themselves or between these devices and a central control base. Analysts at Machina Research estimate that global sales of devices, modules, services and data transmission fees will reach more than US$ 1.2 trillion by 2022. That makes machine-to-machine communications one of the fastest growing technologies in the world.
A wide range of potential applications
M2M has now become indispensable in many industry sectors, from the logistics, automotive, energy, healthcare and retail industries, all the way up to the public sector. It simplifies workflows, streamlines processes, and makes it possible to develop completely new business models. The following everyday examples of networking in action illustrate that the technology's range of potential applications is practically unlimited. Thus we are now seeing cars in a car sharing pool that can transmit not just their current position, but communicate their mileage and fuel level as well. Or smoke alarms that alert the fire department automatically when a fire breaks out. And the technology also raises levels of safety and comfort in private homes, with M2M solutions making themselves useful in remote medical monitoring and smart home management, to name just two examples.
From recording data to taking intelligent action
Based on its long experience in this area, Deutsche Telekom is now one of the leading international providers of M2M services. It sees machine-to-machine technology as a central area for growth going forward. Deutsche Telekom's offerings range from M2M SIM cards and flexible data rate plans, through management platforms to a comprehensive advisory service, as well as complete solutions from a “one-stop-shop” provider. In order to respond effectively to sector-specific requirements and in accordance with Group strategy, Deutsche Telekom works in collaboration with competent partners, each of whom are specialists in their field.
Clear competitive advantages
The solutions developed through these joint efforts offer customers added value that they can use to achieve business success. Because intelligent solutions are not just about recording data. They also convert thedata into usable information, evaluate that information and use it as a basis upon which to push on with intelligent actions taken by machines. Such solutions can ensure, for example, that delicate goods don't deteriorate or become damaged in transport or storage, and don't get lost or arrive late at their destination. Haulage companies, for instance, can reduce such risks substantially through the use of M2M, and can more effectively respond to customer claims by providing gap-free documentation, thus earning themselves a clear advantage over rivals in an extremely competitive market.
High-performance mix of technologies for the best possible connectivity
Deutsche Telekom's M2M solutions are enabled by its high-performance network. The company offers its customers the best possible network access at all times for their solution based on a multi-access strategy. Depending on the specific requirement, a range of different data transfer pathways may be used. Communication technologies such as 3G and 4G, fixed-network connections or local networks with medium-range capacities, such as Powerline or W-LAN, are all options. Aside from its competencies in the relevant technologies and its excellent connectivity, Deutsche Telekom also scores through its ability to provide system integration on-site with the customer.
International availability through cooperation
M2M is a global business; one for which Deutsche Telekom is ideally positioned. In order to ensure international availability, Deutsche Telekom maintains a roaming network along with 550 roaming partners. In addition, together with Orange, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Bell Canada, SoftBank and Swisscom, the company is part of the Global M2M Association (GMA). Aside from the aim of boosting service quality, the shared goal of these leading providers of mobile communications based in Europe, Asia and North America is to improve standards in M2M communication. Thanks to associations such as the GMA, businesses in almost every sector of industry can use M2M solutions problem-free throughout Europe – and indeed all over the world.