This paper provides an overview of M2M. M2M is an acronym for Machine-to-Machine but has sometimes been translated as Man-to-Machine, Machine-to-Man, Machine-to-Mobile and Mobile-to-Machine. Development and deployment of M2M system is necessary for creating a pervasive and intelligent environment. M2M is a combination of various heterogeneous electronic, communication and software technologies. The paper presents the architecture of a M2M system and analyses all its aspects from technological and business point of view.
Machine to Machine (M2M) technology is the utilization of different types of mechanical devices to establish a communication and exchange of information. More properly known as machine to machine technology, the M2M interface allows businesses to monitor and manipulate remote equipment that is crucial to the business operation. This type of remote monitoring and control makes it possible for corporations to address service issues and restore functionality with little or no interruption in productivity.
There are sensors and actuators everywhere, which communicate with each other and with server for proper management and operation of the machines. The stoplights would automatically regulate the flow of vehicles on receiving the traffic data of the city
from sensors installed everywhere. The vending machines would automatically send request for replenishment when needed.
M2M application can be used many purpose such as smart homes, electricity meta reading, fleet management, mobile workforce, automobile insurance, vending machine etc., and then many sectors healthcare, agriculture, Commercial, industrial etc., M2M refers to data communication between machines without human intervention. M2M means family of sensors, actuators, middleware, software and application. M2M is based on the idea that machines are more valuable when they are networked and network becomes
more valuable with addition of more machines to it.
Different electronic communication and software technology are combined to realize to M2M system. The primary use of M2M interaction with a large number of remote and possibly mobile device acting as the interface with the end of users.
What is M2M
M2M technology is the utilization of different types of mechanical devices to establish a communication and exchange of information. More properly known as machine to machine technology, the M2M interface allows businesses to monitor and manipulate remote equipment that is crucial to the business operation. This type of remote monitoring and control makes it possible for corporations to address service issues and restore functionality with little or no interruption in productivity.
Intelligent and communication enabled modules and devices: These devices include embedded sensors, actuators, RFID tags and wireless modules. These sensors and actuators can be made intelligent and built into devices like industrial robots which can sense information and perform certain tasks on their own without human intervention. These sensors can also be built into industrial PLC's (Programmable Logic Control) or GSM operated machines for wireless operation. Smart Phones and PDA's communicating
through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can also be used. Various sensors as a part of M2M devices can be used in real time applications like automatic road toll pay system or maintenance of corporate photocopiers and printers. In the coming times smart homes using M2M based systems will be very popular.
Networks: Networking solutions includes both fixed and wireless communication. Connectivity is the most essential part of M2M. Wireless communication can take advantage of already existing TCP/IP protocol which is most widely used and is used for the internet services. Another advantage of using TCP/IP is that both voice and data services can be used with ease. Security in wireless communication is a very important aspect of M2M which needs to be taken care of while networking. There are many options for data communication between the machines in a sensor network throughout the enterprise. Wired technologies like Ethernet can be used or wireless ones like GRPS, CMDA, GSM, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RF technologies etc.
How M2M Works
M2M works with standard technologies like TCP/IP, IEEE 802.11, wireless LAN's, cellular communication technologies like GPRS, CDMA and GSM, Bluetooth, Zigbee and wired networks such as Ethernet.
In the figure shown above a typical wireless machine to machine implementation sends information on a machine's status to a wireless network via a modem, in this case one that works with Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) cellular technology. Via protocols such as TCP/IP and the short message Peer to Peer Protocol, the system sends information to a back-end server, which processes the data and sends it via the Internet to the facility that monitors and controls the machine. Using standardized technologies helps in easier inter device operation in M2M systems, and in its deployment. Standardized technologies also help in building standard compliant equipment which will reduce the costs of the systems. M2M nodes operate autonomously pushing information on various systems and various nodes interoperate and send data to one another. These nodes can make decisions on their own also requiring no or some human intervention
M2M Value Chain
Equipment Supplier: Handles all the tasks from manufacturing to maintaining intelligent communication enabled devices. The equipment supplier also has the duty of providing components required to integrate these devices into solutions including programming devices and bridges required for building complete M2M architecture as described earlier in the paper.
Software Publisher: Handles the middleware and all M2M applications. A large range of software publishers can be used depending upon M2M system to be built.
Telecom Operators: These are the most important people in the M2M solution as they provide connection to remote devices and offer all operation and administration services for networks and devices.
Consulting: Help in recognizing the feasibility of M2M project and the areas on which companies can focus more in M2M solutions. Consultants also help in selecting other key players so that different players can work together in a better way.
Integrator: Has the responsibility of integrating all components into a solution to form a complete M2M package. Integrator can be any of the above an IT service provider, a telecom operator or an equipment supplier.
Hosting and service Platform provider: Are the ones hosting the M2M solution
Distributor: Has the responsibility of marketing the product, deploying M2M solutions and providing services to the clients.
M2M Communication Protocol: BiTXml
The current protocol specification defines:
1. The abstraction of a BiTXml gateway application
2. The abstraction of a BiTXml controller
3. The syntax and the semantic of a set of values used to exchange data between two communicating parties
4. The syntax and semantic of a set of commands used to drive the devices connected to the BiTXml gateway application
5. The syntax and semantic for events, generated by the BiTXml gateway application following the recognition of specific conditions on the controlled devices
M2M technology has been and can be applied to wide domains. Application areas are: Management of smart spaces, industry automation, building automation, home automation, security, healthcare, vending machines, automobiles, digital imaging, fleet and tracking. M2M could be used to monitor and control building temperature, lighting levels and security. It can be used in flood control systems. Data from multiple sensors can be used to develop M2M based control applications. For example a network of motion sensors can detect the location of persons. M2M has mainly been deployed in industries which use large and expensive equipments. Intel has deployed M2M in a chip fabrication plant to monitor the equipments automatically.
Bright Future of M2M
Sensors and actuators play a major role in M2M systems and with the introduction of technology like MEMS, all sensors and actuators can now be integrated onto a single chip and can be built on large scales at much lower costs. Device miniaturization will also help in large scale deployment of M2M systems. With the advent of communication technologies like EDGE and 3G technologies in GPRS/GSM, performance of the systems will really improve and provide multiple solutions on a single device. Newer wireless technologies like WiMAX have increased data transfer speeds and range further adding onto communication benefits. Better structuring of mesh networks will lead to much improved performance for
M2M systems. Energy efficient sensors and techniques will further enhance the devices used in M2M systems, with the advances in semiconductor and transmission techniques devices will be optimized to run on lower power and will utilize the battery more efficiently. Technology improvement has reduced the size Areas of M2M Applications
of lithium-ion batteries which last longer. Alternative fuel sources are adding onto the benefits of the M2M devices. Energy efficient systems can work continuously without any human intervention and care for a much longer time providing smart, better, cheaper and convenient M2M systems. There are unlimited opportunities for growth in any field and with proper and smarter utilization of smarter resources and technology M2M technology holds a promising future.
Machine - to - Machine system promises to create a truly pervasive environment where machines are active and can communicate with each other without human intervention. M2M is poised to grow in nearly every vertical sector. The M2M technology gives immense opportunities and benefits to corporate world and industry by providing them with better market opportunities and new solutions to enhance their business processes. The M2M system can blend with our daily lives seamlessly and provide us with enhanced and intelligent environment. With the improvements in existing electronic, communication and
IT technologies, one can hope that all the challenges to the large scale deployment of M2M solutions will soon be overcome.