While Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication has been around for many years, the falling cost of mobile communication hardware and the growing demand for real time communication and data at our fingertips is driving exponential growth of M2M connected devices. This has resulted in the appearance of the term ‘Internet of Things’ increasingly being used to define this space.
At TEOCO, we believe M2M and IoT will be one of the defining challenges Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will need to address over the next 10 years. While M2M traffic volumes are expected to be only a small percentage of overall network volumes, the sheer number of devices, as well as the new traffic patterns and differing expectations with regards to quality of service (QoS) will require a step change in thinking from Mobile Network Operators on planning and optimizing their networks.
Global cellular M2M connections 2014-24 [Source: Machina Research, 2015]
Over the past few years TEOCO has been working with a number of network operators in the area of M2M. By analyzing usage and transactional data for the myriad of emerging M2M devices and services we have been able to provide these customers with a comprehensive view of network impact, usage behaviors, and mechanism for financial settlement with third-party application providers.
During this intense monitoring of M2M devices we have gained a number of insights into the effects of M2M devices on mobile networks and how MNOs will need to adapt in order to ensure they not only continue to offer excellent QoS to their existing customers but are also well placed to profit from the growing M2M market.
While almost every aspect of the business needs to be considered the following are some of the areas where TEOCO can assist MNOs to ensure they are ready for the explosion of M2M devices:
- M2M will require an increased focus on device management. With many more devices on the network, all of which are able to introduce interference into the network, certification of devices will become even more important than it is today. The TEOCO Device Lab is an accredited device certification lab. It is staffed with an experienced team of radio and applications test engineers and is focused on certification of devices through both lab and field testing for MNOs and device vendors. Read more about out device testing services here.
- M2M will require more sophisticated planning tools. M2M will bring many more device types to the network, each of which will have different demands in terms of capacity, QoS, latency and other metrics. To ensure the demands of these devices are adequately addressed and QoS is maintained for existing voice and data customers, planning tools will require highly accurate modeling capabilities to deliver advanced capacity planning across a wide number of access technologies. Leveraging live network performance and capacity data will be key to successful capacity and coverage planning. You can read more about out planning tool portfolio and how we address these planning challenges here.
- M2M will require more dynamic RAN optimization. A number of M2M device types will place very spurious demands on network capacity, think connected cars during rush hour. Optimization will need to be more real-time, more device focused and more aware of the different resource and QoS demands of specific devices. Our Mentor RAN optimization and analytics tool is well suited to meet these demands. Read more here.
- M2M will require Service Assurance and CEM tools with profiling and device type monitoring capabilities. While traditional service assurance and customer experience management (CEM) capabilities will be applicable to M2M devices some additional requirements will be important too. From a service assurance standpoint it will be important to be able to profile usage patterns of device types to aid recommendations from optimization tools, especially where SON is involved. On the CEM front, being able to monitor network performance based on device type will be important to highlight where the network may require changes to better suit an important device type or customer, or where a specific device may be having a detrimental effect on the network. To learn more about our Service Assurance Suite which includes a CEM tool click here.
- M2M will present some challenges for spectrum refarming. Spectrum refarming is becoming a common activity as MNOs look to maximize the return on investment of their spectrum by assigning it to more profitable services. TEOCO is the leading provider of spectrum refarming services and one of the key issues which will become more prevalent as M2M penetration increases is the impact spectrum refarming will have on the installed base of M2M devices which may have lifespans of decades and be expensive or impossible to swap out. Going forward more consideration will need to be given to the M2M installed base when considering a spectrum refarm. Learn more about our spectrum refarming services here.
- M2M will require more co-operation with 3rd parties and Over-the-top (OTT) providers. One of the key aspects of this co-operation will be determining equitable revenue sharing models and reconciling financial settlements. TEOCO’s SONAR analytics tool provides a comprehensive view of network impact, usage behaviors, and mechanism for financial settlement with third-party application providers to achieve this.
Find out more about how M2M will affect you:
TEOCO commissioned Machina Research, the world’s leading provider of strategic advice on the newly emerging M2M, IoT and Big Data markets to investigate the network management challenges that M2M will pose to mobile operators. The research findings are outlined in a white paper entitled ‘M2M growth necessitates a new approach to network planning and optimisation’. The white paper provides a snapshot of the growth of M2M/IoT in terms of numbers of devices and traffic, examines the ways in which M2M will put different and unexpected strains on the network, with a particular focus on connected cars, and finally offers some perspectives on how this might necessitate changes in a mobile operators approach to network engineering and operations.
You can download a complimentary copy of the white paper here.