Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Some M2M applications...

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications are found within a wide range of industries, these include automatic meter reading (AMR), vending machines, point of sales (POS) terminals, transport and logistics (fleet management), healthcare, security technology and many other applications.

M2M Embedded Systems are used to integrate technologies such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, Java and Zigbee to terminals that are connected to applications. (Find our more on M2M Embedded Systems...)

Example Applications...

How does it work?

Automatic Meter Reading

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) automatically collects consumption, diagnostic and status data from water meter or energy metering devices (water, gas, electric) and transfers the data to a central database for maintenance issues, billing, troubleshooting and analysis. This saves time for Engineers to take periodic trips to each physical location to read a meter. The billing can also be based on real time consumption rather than on estimates.

AMR technologies can be handheld, mobile or network technologies based on telephony platforms (wired and wireless), radio frequency (RF) or power line transmission. The devices can connect to a central host via a wireless network from any location and transmit data from one another.

Vending Machine Monitoring

Vending machine monitoring can automatically collect stock levels, sales transactions, vending temperature, ingredient levels and send alarms on events of crime and stock shortages. The data and information is transmitted to a central host and read on an internet based system or sent directly to a computer located in the headquarters.

The communication to the vending machine is made over wireless networks. The technology connected is usually a cellular GSM/GPRS modem or GSM/GPRS router connecting via an RS-232 interface providing connectivity to wireless networks.

M2M communications market revenues to reach $1.9bn in 2016

World satellite M2M communications market earned revenues of $726m in 2009 and is estimated to reach $1.90bn in 2016, according to market research company Frost & Sullivan analysis.

The market observer said that the US is dominating the world satellite M2M communications market, with 62% share, while the Asia-Pacific region is expected to experience maximum growth in terms of regional share in the long term.

The report said that the development of worldwide, wireless, wireline, and satellite networks in the last twenty years has set the stage for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and equipment to utilise these existing networks.

Daniel Longfield, research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said: "Smaller hardware paves the way for greater potential in the M2M industry to foray into new areas, especially in the in mobile or communication-on-the-move applications.

"Reduced equipment costs further accelerated opportunities by helping in the monitoring and tracking of more assets.

"The average revenue per user among cellular operators is in the range of $6 to $7 per month, whereas satellite companies are in the $24 per month range. Additionally, hardware prices for satellite M2M equipment range from $74 to $3,200."

The research firm said that as hardware sales grow, economies of scale will develop and contribute to reductions in unit prices for M2M equipment. As prices fall for M2M equipment, more opportunities will materialise in the vertical markets.

Read full story here..

Thursday, 29 July 2010

World Satellite Machine-to-Machine Communications Market - New Market Report Published

World Satellite Machine-to-Machine Communications Market provides market drivers and restraints, global revenue and subscriber forecasts, and current market share data for the world satellite machine-to-machine (M2M) communications market. This research service is directed at M2M network providers, equipment manufacturers, those involved in satellite operations, and, more broadly, any satellite communications industry professional that works in the tracking of the M2M industry. In this research, expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets: satellite, M2M hardware, fixed satellite services, and mobile satellite services. (Read full story here...)

Friday, 9 July 2010

M2M a Key Component...

"Machine-to-machine communications, or M2M, will be a key component in the future growth of the mobile industry.

For energy companies it could be smart meters that read themselves, increase business efficiency and cut operational expenses. In transportation - tracking solutions improve route optimization and safety for vehicles on the road. Digital signs that can be updated remotely, cameras that can send pictures halfway around the world and even a soda machine (drinks vending machine) that requests restocking when needed are other examples that machine-to-machine technology make possible." - Read full story here...

Embedded Systems

How can we use embedded systems (modules)?

To begin with, we can use embedded modules to perform one or more functions to a complete device such as, modem, fire alarm, GPS receiver etc.

Now, what are these functions?
1) Route data over wireless networks
2) Send SMS on alarm
3) Enable Internet access
4) Turn machines on or off from a remote office
5) Trigger functions on event (i.e. send e-mail on security brake in)

(Here is a nice diagram)

You get the idea.... the list is endless.

What kind of wireless networks can you access?
Well this depends on the module, there are different types of modules that can access different networks such as, GSM/GPRS, EDGE, GPS, 3G, HSPA/HSDPA etc. It all normally depends on your project requirements.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

What is GPRS?

For those of you who don't already know...

GPRS is a packet oriented mobile data service; it is available for 2G cellular communication, GSM and 3G systems (modems, routers and embedded systems). GPRS provides data rates, this is the speed of data transfer from one medium to another. In 2G systems, GPRS sends 56-114kbit of data per second.

The GPRS protocol sits in the GSM, 2G and 3G network extending the circuit switch data (data transmissions) in order to allow;

  • "Always on” internet access
  • MMS and SMS
  • PoC/PTT (Puch to talk)
  • Instant messaging and presence – wireless village
  • WAP (Wireless application protocol) to allow Internet applications for smart devices
  • Point-to-point services via IP’s

The GPRS connection is established by reference to its access point name (APN). The APN defines the WAP (wireless protocol) access. An APN must be specified to permit a GPRS connection.

Utilities want you to adopt M2M systems

"An M2M experiment launched in Florida to control peak energy demands in. I would not be surprised as more services of this nature are rolled out.

A Florida utility wants it customers to use remote managed thermostats. They offer it for free and even provide free installation. This allows customers to control the temperature from any internet enabled device.
Florida Power & Light Company will provide Internet-ready programmable thermostat, a remote control device that can be used when you’re at home, at work, or on vacation.
Along with not charging for the thermostat, FPL will install it for free. In return, the customer agrees to let FPL occasionally cycle the air conditioner for short periods of time, only when necessary, to conserve energy during heavy demand. However, the customer always has the ability to override the utility’s remote control over the air conditioner via the internet or by calling a toll-free number provided by FPL. FPL will also offer devices to control Pool pumps and Heaters..." - Read full story

Monday, 5 July 2010

RFI Engineering Adds VPN Feature to Smart Data Routers

Almere, June 21, 2010

RFI Engineering, a leading manufacturer of smart data solutions, intelligent port controllers, compact wireless gateways and remote management accessories, recognizing the vast and growing potential of programmable intelligent data solutions for the M2M market, today announced that it has added industry-standard VPN tunneling to its smart data router product-line.

Currently, the smart data router product-line consists of the G-router

(GSM/GRPS) and the C-router (CDMA/CDMA1x). The smart data routers are designed as an intelligent wireless data transmitter, including event monitoring and reporting from monitored equipment, which can be effectively deployed in sensor networks, smart metering and monitoring applications.

Smart data routers, such as the G-router and the C-router are able to set up a packet oriented data connection to the Internet using GPRS or CDMA1x. Most data connections offered by mobile operators are Internet centric, meaning they are to be used for Internet access. The smart data router is able to establish a connection to the Internet, but the device itself is hidden behind the Internet gateway of the network operator. This means that the data router itself can not be reached from the public Internet.

A solution is to establish a VPN tunnel between each smart data router and the customer's VPN server. For this purpose, L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling

Protocol) VPN client support has been added to the feature set of the G-router and C-router. Customers can access the C-router or G-router directly, using their own L2TP VPN server.

"By adding a VPN client to our flagship product the G-router and the recently announced C-router, we have equipped our smart data routers with the possibility of establishing a secure VPN connection to a central VPN router, which offers customers a competitive edge by providing high-grade network security and reducing their total cost of ownership," says Peter Calis, CEO of RFI Engineering.

About RFI Engineering

RFI Engineering is a leading manufacturer of programmable smart data routers, intelligent port controllers, compact wireless gateways and remote management accessories. RFI Engineering develops, manufactures and markets - GSM/GPRS, UMTS/HSDPA, CDMA/EVDO - sophisticated products and solutions for the M2M market, which streamline business processes by enabling machines, devices and vehicles to communicate via mobile networks. As both producer and marketer of advanced cellular technology and wireless products, RFI Engineering is uniquely positioned in the M2M market. More information is available on www.rfi-engineering.com.

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