Seems that this is an area that has a lot of potential. I read an article earlier in the week in the WSJ about how the tough economy was causing more theft with vending machines. At least one own had installed devices that would page him when his machines were opened, enabling him to catch several thieves. Some of the theives were actually his own employees.
I think the key is to simplify deployments and reduce the price to make it cost effective for more applications.
Thanks Greg. I agree with that assessment. M2M shall become more appealing to Service providers if a common service platform (via normalisation) is evolved i.e. simplified deployment. Another critical factor for success is linkage with existing business/IT processes in the SP domain...greater the synergy, more OPEX savings.
First, lets define a M2M gateway. Contrary to popular belief, this gateway is akin to the Connected Home gateway that sits at customer premises or an Enterprise Gateway that sits at the SME premises channeling all the traffic towards the Service Provider network. A block diagram based on a standardized M2M architecture with all the elements including the M2M Gateway can be found below. Broadly speaking then, M2M gateway can be termed as a box that terminates different capillary networks such as Zigbee, wifi, Bluetooth etc.
What are the advantages of such a model? lets look at the challenges faced by the Service Providers today:
- Huge number of M2M devices
- we do not want to congest access and core networks with signaling from all these devices
- we want to identify and address all devices (both individually and in groups)
- these devices have varied characteristics (delay tolerance, power, delay cycle) making it difficult to find a "one size fits for all" solution for access and core network operation
- these devices should provide autonomous operations i.e. maintenance and configurations should be "human free"
- leverage unlicensed bands for emerging spectrum
- unique security and policy
Well, so what do we think? Does it make sense to have M2M Gateways and should Cisco investigate in enabling such services over its product portfolio?