Motive Machine-to-Machine Platform Helps Deliver on the Promise of M2M

Next Generation Communications Blog

Motive Machine-to-Machine Platform Helps Deliver on the Promise of M2M

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It is fashionable to talk about the Internet of Things, also known as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. And for all its hype, M2M is growing and starting to reach some of its promise.

But only a little of its promise.

The most futuristic M2M scenarios remain largely limited to intranets of things, ranging from the home to the intelligent city, production systems such as electricity, or just stand-alone intelligent objects intended to provide dedicated services.

“Such cases are still relatively simple, with a limited range of objects and behaviors which are generally designed and calibrated in advance,” noted Mathieu Boussard of Bell Labs recently in an interesting posting, The Internet of Things, a natural (r)evolution.

The real game-changing M2M applications won’t start appearing until internet-enabled objects can be brought together in scenarios not yet planned by their manufacturers—or “even to take it upon themselves to collaborate for a shared purpose,” according to Boussard.

Getting there will take software advances and innovation from network operators. It also will take hardware advances.

The M2M of the future that will drive enterprise solutions needs to be self-powered, have embedded control software, processing and communication capabilities, and ideally provide for human interaction, according to Boussard.

On the network side, M2M devices need to be identified and given an address, data routing needs to be provided in a changeable context (mobility, unavailability), they need to be made interoperable with each other and with technologies with a wide range of purposes (such as energy efficiency, or performance), and to handle a range of service quality requirements, among other needs.

“And from a software/system point of view, the resulting ecosystem of ecosystems needs to be managed – including managing resources, the data produced (and its distribution) and the network formed by these objects, where possible using all the self-organization that can be harnessed in a highly dynamic and heterogeneous context,” concluded Boussard.

To make the M2M revolution meet its promise, it will also take more than just a single vendor. Bell Labs and Alcatel Lucent will play their part, offering innovative M2M solutions such as Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Machine-to-Machine Platform.

“ But the test will be our ability to grasp all the complexity of this evolutionary change – just as no one ‘owns’ the Internet ecosystem now, so no single player will be able to build the Internet of Things alone,” wrote Boussard.

Ultimately the challenge for M2M to reach its promise is not technological. It is collaborating effectively.

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