In developing a machine-to-machine system, users must consider a number of factors, including the nature of the connectivity, the hardware associated with it, and the needs of suppliers. In particular, “you have to make sure that the connectivity piece is something you think about from the beginning,” said Wilson.
One would assume that consideration is implied in the development of M2M technology, “but you’d be surprised at the number of companies for which it’s an afterthought,” Wilson said. “A lot of times, developers don’t think about which carrier is going to use that connectivity.” The project might involve several types of networks, each requiring a specific hardware chipset.
Wilson drew a distinction between M2M and the newer designation of “Internet of Things.” The latter opens up a much wider range of possibilities, beyond M2M’s basic reliance on a device, network connectivity and application.
Selecting the right application programming interface (APIs) depends on which operating system is being used. “You have to pick the right carrier that provides the API,” said Wilson.
The growing reliance on M2M systems has triggered an explosion of new devices. It leads to a level of connectivity that was previously unthinkable to many companies, said Wilson. One area that has opened up tremendously is that of mobile devices, which can host any number of applications today.
M2M connectivity is expanding “exponentially,” Wilson said, predicting that 50 billion devices will be in use by the year 2020. “More people are thinking about different ideas about how they connect machines together,” he said.
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