Next Generation Communications Blog


The Next Evolution for SCADA will include M2M

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Is machine-to-machine (M2M) technology the future of SCADA?

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is widely used by railways, highways management, power utilities and the oil & gas industry, among others. It brings an end-to-end supervisory system which acquires data from the field through Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) or Intelligent Electrical Devices (IEDs) and connects it to sensors through a communications network.

The oil industry employs SCADA technology to monitor offshore and onshore extraction, for instance.

Some pundits are predicting the end of SCADA in the near future.  However, a recent TrackTalk article by Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation, Oil & Gas Segments, Alcatel-Lucent, entitled with the same question posed above, Is M2M killing SCADA?, arrives at a different answer.  Sens argues that SCADA instead will adapt and include M2M, which is closely related to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) megatrend currently sweeping the consumer world.

Mobile World Congress 2015 - What's the Next Big Thing?

By: Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

In doing preparations for what many have called “the circus” aka the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC)—which is arguably now the most important industry trade event as the world goes mobile and which takes place in Barcelona March 2-5—the excitement is already palpable.  From all of the new cool devices of all shapes and sizes to interesting advances on things like antenna technology, Network Functions Virtualization, carrier aggregation, etc., the eye candy alone is almost overwhelming in terms of imagining the possibilities.  However, MWC always is tantalizing because not only does it answer what we will see in terms of capabilities in the near-term, but also because of the questions it raises about the longer term.

In this regard I was struck by a recent blog by Michael Peeters, CTO, Alcatel-Lucent Wireless, entitled I think appropriately, The Circus is in Town. Peeters’ main point is summed up nicely where he says in characterizing his view on what’s the next big thing that will be the buzz of the show that, “ thing is certain: its story will be about removing place and time constraints we took for granted.”

LTE Carrier Aggregation--Meeting the Challenges of the 'Need for Speed' and Capacity

By: Peter Bernstein, TMC Senior Editor

In business as well as our personal lives there are finite resources that gate our activities. The big one that covers both is time which we cannot create more of and hopefully optimize for obvious reasons.  In mobile communications the issue is getting the most out of not just the finite but scarce radio frequency (RF) spectrum allocated for service provider networks. 

Realities are that in most parts of the world mobile service providers have access to different frequency bands as a result of things like auctions and mergers. Thus, they have a need to mesh their various spectrum assets (i.e., bands and associated carriers) in general. They also must optimize them to meet the insatiable appetite of customers for bandwidth-hungry services such as real-time and streamed video where Quality of Experience (QoE). Indeed, QoE and its extensibility to cover anywhere a customer is located is now foundational for attracting and keeping customers. 

Partnering to Meet the Challenges and Opportunities in Building Smart Cities

The dynamics of this global change are fairly well known, although how to address the challenges isn’t so obvious. For example, cities consume three quarters of energy and contribute 80 percent of CO2 emissions globally, according to a recent report in The Guardian. How can that energy be most effciently delivered, with minimal environmental impact?

Consensus is emerging that what’s needed are smarter, safer, greener cities. Governments and municipalities are under pressure to invest in sustainable infrastructure capable of efficiently delivering services to citizens and workers.

There’s a pretty compelling smart grid transformation opportunity for public-private partnerships embedded in this evolution. Together, telecom service providers and information and communication technology (ICT) providers can bring in their assets, expertise and experience to help power utilities meet goals for smart grid applications.

Benefits of Standardization in the Internet of Things

By: Tim Carey, Industry Standards Manager of Alcatel-Lucent’s Customer Experience Division

The world of M2M is changing as solutions move from single purpose devices that transmit data to and receive commands from an application in the network to an Internet of Things where solutions permit devices to be multi-purpose and applications to be collaborative.

The Internet of Things can benefit from global standardization efforts that:

  • Enable deployment of standards compliant devices and applications with no or minimal customization thereby expanding the applicable device ecosystem and reducing deployment time
  • Provide an ecosystem that readily allow applications to share information and experiences
  • Provide an environment where communication occurs securely and the privacy and confidentiality of the user is maintained

Is the Connected Car Going to Replace your Smartphone?

By: Anthony Trinh (@Trinh_Anthony), Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent 

What if you didn’t need to have your phone beside you at all times? What if instead, you can use your own car to connect with you, direct you and protect you wherever you go?

Well, by 2022, a Telefónica Industry Report (PDF) predicts that there will be 1.8 billion automotive Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections that can do just that. This will comprise 700 million Connected Cars and 1.1 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices for services such as navigation, insurance, stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) and infotainment. In fact, Machina Research predicts that by 2020, 90% of new cars will feature built-in connectivity platforms, growing from less than 10% today.

Connected Cars will not replace smartphones - merely it’s a way to extend the IoT connectivity and bring the everyday lifestyle right to the car. Ellis Lindsay’s blog on Connected Cars as an everyday lifestyle does a great job of explaining this concept. He goes into detail about connected cars giving us the ability to link our life experiences – whether it’s our deadlines, travel plans, monthly payments or Facebook notifications – to wherever we are and wherever we go.

Connected Cars as an Everyday Lifestyle

By: Ellis Lindsay, General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent 

I drive to work and back home in my car every day. I tune in to a radio station for traffic news and upcoming events nearby. Like many of you I’m sure, this is a typical everyday activity. And like never before, we are connected to our home, our families, our phones, our work and our friends in a network that seems to be always on. Shouldn’t we be in a lifestyle where we are consistently connected to the everyday activities in our lives? Well, let me introduce you to the world of Connected Cars.

IP Network Investments Enable Enhanced Smart Grid Value

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The future of the smart grid looks bright. Innovations such as IP/MPLS network connectivity and the desirability to all potential stakeholders in smart cities projects have helped propel smart grid spending in general and investment in the enabling networks. In addition, government programs such as the U. S. Smart Grid Investment Grant Program have pumped $7.8 billion into smart grid systems with accelerated activities taking place around the world. In fact, driven initially by government stimulus, investments by the electric power industry in IP technology is accelerating, with US$200 trillion projected in global expenditures by 2030.

In short, the networking piece of smart grid deployments is critical, as the migration of utility infrastructure to meet the needs to remotely monitor and manage their grids grows in complexity.  “The new IP/MPLS technologies offer a great deal of benefits within the utility in cost savings, operational efficiency and cost savings, and they also mandate a new way to operate, bridging those traditional organizational silos,” noted Mark Burke, VP of Intelligent Networks and Communications for DNV – GL, in a recent GridTalk posting.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes says Europe Must Stop its Cellular Race to the Bottom

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As leaders in Europe debate whether the EU is “back” during the World Economic Forum, the region is increasingly falling behind when it comes to telecommunications, according to Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes.

“There is a real danger,” noted Combes in a recent blog post on Europe’s digital divide (published in the Wall Street Journal, “that Europe is losing ground in the information era.”

That’s because there is an increasing gap between what the latest smartphones can deliver and what Europe’s telecommunications companies can support due to a price war that inhibits infrastructure upgrades.

“Europe is locked in a vicious circle of competition focused exclusively on price, one that forces operators to reduce their investments and destroys their innovation capacity,” noted Combes. “This type of competition is bad news for a digital Europe and its consumers.”

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

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.

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