The control of M2M solutions through a cloud-based front end is coming at a steady pace, with expanding 4G mobile networks set to drive the pace even quicker, Anthony Savvas looks at the benefits
Cloud offers enterprises and network operators the scalability and flexibility they need to update and manage M2M devices, as well as providing the online and shareable capacity to store the data collected from those devices. This is extremely important as the number of M2M devices spirals and the Internet of Things starts to become a reality in the enterprise and in the home, and more and more data requires storage, analysis and distribution.
Single location management
A cloud-based management platform that can be located at a single location can control multiple M2M applications, and can provide the necessary data analytics to get the most out of this data for the benefit of enterprise. This contributes to efficient business processes, cuts M2M operational costs and helps the organisation to make greater returns from its technology investments. M2M devices connected to the Internet of Things and controlled in a cloud environment benefit from the classic scalability features of cloud. They can be increased in number more quickly in response to the needs of the business using more efficient resource management.
Taking advantage of speedier networks
As the efficiency and speed of wireless networks improve, the ability of the cloud to control largescale device deployments will become more streamlined and cost effective for enterprises. Although most M2M devices currently work very successfully over established 2G and 3G mobile networks, it is only a matter of time before organisations decide to garner more data from their devices using the extra capacity being promised by 4G operators. If you have a good data analytics platform at the cloud management end there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to take advantage of higher bandwidth networks. M2M change configuration settings, software updates, troubleshooting through device log files and device performance analysis can all be done more quickly through an automated cloud-based front end. Cloud can provide update flexibility and scalability for M2M management CLOUD-BASED M2M
What’s required from a cloud-run M2M solution
Authentication and security to ensure that data transferred between devices and applications is verified, authenticated and protected from security threats and malware
Managed connectivity and device management to make sure M2M devices can be detected, monitored, updated and managed over the air across multiple mobile and fixed-line networks, and across various mixed network operators
Device data aggregation and analysis to ensure information – like temperature, location, usage data and other readings – is efficiently organised and stored ready for examination
Industry M2M cloud alliances
The delivery of such cloud-based solutions will be enabled through industry alliances across communications hardware specialists, analytics software leaders and mobile operators.
A significant alliance penned last year was between Ericsson and SAP, who invited mobile operators to join them in jointly selling one-stop shop cloud-based M2M solutions to enterprises.
Their offering combines Ericsson’s device connection and service enablement platforms and SAP’s HANA data analytics system, with the partners promising lower upfront costs to potential customers by using a software-as-aservice model via the cloud as part of the package.
Hans Vestberg, the chief executive of Ericsson, says: “Global M2M service revenue is estimated to reach more than $200 billion by 2017. This partnership gives us a chance to unlock some of that potential.
” He says, “By using Ericsson’s experience from the communications industry and SAP’s from the enterprise segment, businesses will find better and more innovative ways to respond to customer needs more quickly. Building an ecosystem also provides our operator customers with a new way to address emerging markets and changing enterprise needs.
” A number of mobile operators have been brought on board by Ericsson and SAP, including Telenor and Three.”
And in a more recent enterprise cloud M2M move, Deutsche Telekom launched its M2M Device-to-Cloud (D2C) offering. DT said it was expanding its portfolio of services for M2M with ultra-simple data and device management through the cloud.
To promote the type of cloud M2M ecosystem that Ericsson and SAP talk about, Deutsche Telekom also launched its M2M Device-to-Cloud Ready certification programme. This programme helps hardware manufacturers confirm that their M2M devices are compatible with DT’s cloud platform.
Jürgen Hase, head of Deutsche Telekom’s M2M Competence Centre, says: “With our M2M Device Cloud, machinery operators can now monitor and manage their machines more easily with M2M.”
He adds: “M2M Device Cloud will speed up the development and market launch of M2M solutions, and also simplify management of networked devices.”
” Of the developing cloud-based M2M market, analyst firm Frost & Sullivan says: “Exceptional M2M growth will lead to an exponential increase in the amount of computing power required to effectively manage all that transactional data coming in from connected devices.”
“M2M cloud providers that can provide the necessary resources to application developers to help them get started with M2M application development and deployments with relative ease, are expected to see significant adoption for their services. A well-designed and appropriately priced M2M cloud platform can provide a cost-effective way to introduce new M2M applications to the market.”
Wake up and smell the cloud coffee
Nestlé coffee company Nespresso selected Sierra Wireless to provide a cloud-based M2M solution to connect its Nespresso coffee machines used in restaurants, hotels, offices and luxury retail boutiques.
The solution, developed on the Sierra Wireless AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform and using the supplier’s AirLink GL6100 programmable modem, enables Nespresso to deliver extended after-sales services by ensuring that the machines are maintained in excellent condition, and that they operate at the optimum pressure and temperature to produce the highest quality coffee.
Sierra Wireless worked in close collaboration with Orange Business Services, which provides wireless data network services for the coffee machines worldwide. Marco Zancolo, head of the B2B channel at Nestlé Nespresso, says: “This solution will further ensure that Nespresso will consistently deliver simplicity, reliability and a rewarding coffee experience for our clients’ customers.
” The programmable modems monitor the Nespresso coffee machines and transmit operational and business data to the AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform via the wireless network operated by Orange and its roaming partners around the world.
Emmanuel Walckenaer, Sierra Wireless senior vice president and general manager for enterprise solutions, says: “Nespresso now has a global M2M solution and a single software interface to streamline the technical support and business services it offers to its customers around the world.”