As M2M technology continues to develop, many different industries are finding new and exciting ways to adapt their organizational structures and business models to serve and reflect a broad range of M2M solutions.
As it stands, according to a recent report from GSMA, global M2M connections reached 195 million in 2013, with Asia taking the lead at 42 percent of the connections. Though other regional markets did see growth, in places such as Africa (which only saw 4 percent of the global connections), M2M connections may be the key to opening up a wider range of technology and empowering its people socially and economically and improving wellbeing.
One such stimulating concept, smart cities refer to a harmonious amalgamation of city life and technology, smart cities would harness information and communications technologies to improve issues with mobile connectivity, urbanization, traffic congestion, waste disposal, energy usage, and healthcare. At the core of the connected life is the citizen, who becomes the driving force behind such a network. Transportation, for example, is only an extension of the consumers’ needs. Make transportation smarter (with connected cars included), and you have the ability to completely transform everything from consumer satisfaction to the economy of a region.
M2M Technology in mHealth
Smart cities would give its inhabitants better quality of life and major advancements in a variety of sectors all around the world. One such sector that has harnessed the power of mobile technology is the healthcare industry, with mHealth (mobile health), which provides a multitude of services centered on bringing aid to developing countries that would not otherwise have access to local healthcare services.
M2M developments within mHealth include:
Equipping patients with wireless devices:
This allows conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiac problems to be monitored and measurements to be captured by sensors and sent automatically to doctors. Patients can be monitored at home, encouraging early detection of health issues, saving time spent at medical appointments and most importantly allows efficient and constant monitoring of health which is especially important for those with chronic illness.
Automated medicine dispensers:
Special sensors can be installed in medicine dispensers that collect and record important data regarding intake-time, dosage and application method. These devices can transmit automated messages to doctors about usage and to pharmacies alerting them when medicines run low; they can even reorder medicines automatically. This means that doctors can be sure of medicine intake and also be alerted in real time of dosage and usage issues.
It’s a Growth Market
Revenue forecasts indicate that M2M initiatives in smart cities, healthcare, transportation, utilities, and buildings will add up to $67.1 billion (USD) to the global economy by 2020, up from $22.8 billion (USD) in 2012. Key to successfully delivering on this forecast are remote service and support platforms that can manage and support billions of M2M devices, reach endpoints in remote or restricted locations and support any network topography. By developing these capabilities, network providers will grant themselves the ability to create and capture value in a wide range of connected ecosystems.
The Citizen is Key
The general consensus among those in the mobile industry working on mHealth, smart cities and other M2M initiatives is that the citizen is the most important element in a connected life. An object can be intelligent, but without serving a distinct purpose or satisfying a user’s needs, that intelligence becomes a waste. Focusing efforts on the user first and the technology second will lead to an unlimited number of opportunities. Not only can this focus provide new connections in areas that have never been connected before, but they could also mean an economic boom to many parts of the world.
Sources: http://www.gsma.com/connectedliving/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/M2M-report_GSMAi.pdf, https://mobiledevelopmentintelligence.com/impact_pathways/mhealth, http://www.machinetomachinemagazine.com/2013/11/28/m2m-case-study-m2m-opportunities-in-healthcare/