M2M

Machine to Machine (M2M) communications is one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world. A diverse range of industries are adopting this network-based technology. According to research by Markets to Markets, the global M2M market is expected to grow 26.1% from 2012 to 2017 and be worth $85.96 billion.

M2M technology allows the transmission of data from one machine to another over a network. M2M is used primarily for remote monitoring, automation and notification. It is particularly helpful to monitor facilities that are geographically remote or difficult to access.

Since the deployment of the mobile phone networks, and the growth of other wireless technologies, there has been considerable interest in M2M technology. However the technology is not new. Connected sensors and devices have existed for many years and been an integral part of monitoring and measurement in a number of diverse industries. Nor is it true to say that M2M is only possible since the development of cellular networks. Any network can be used for M2M. However wireless networks are usually more suitable to the needs of the M2M market.

Wood & Douglas has deployed its wireless radio technology in a wide range of application to deliver a robust, reliable and fast network for M2M services to operate seamlessly. We have successfully installed our radio units across diverse industries from utilities and emergency services to homeland security and exploration services, working with some of the leading names in these respective sectors.

Q&A

What is Machine to Machine (M2M)?

In simple terms, M2M is the real-time transmission of data between machines over a wired or wireless network without interaction from a human. Generally, the captured data is then remotely collected, assessed and analysed.

What communications technology is used to create the network?

Any wired or wireless technology can be used as a channel for M2M communications. Typically wireless technologies are often used because M2M tends to be implemented to monitor remote or difficult to reach areas. Cellular, satellite and radio frequency technologies are all suitable for M2M communications.

What industries is M2M used in?

M2M technology is implemented in a diverse range of industries ranging from utilities, homeland security, emergency services, health care, transport, exploration services, plant and construction, oil and gas, digital media, exploration and mining to broadcast and retail.

What applications is M2M technology used for?

Wood & Douglas has deployed wireless technology into a wide range of M2M applications for industry. For example, we have strong relationships with the major utility companies in the UK helping them monitor waste water processes, detect leaks in underground water pipes, monitor reservoir levels, employ smart metering and manage faults on the national grid. We also work with major plants across the country in health and safety and delivering tidal information to determine the safe passage of cargo boats into estuary areas.

What data can be carried on an M2M network?

Typically M2M communications tend to be used for monitoring or measurement. A good example would be monitoring the volume of water in a reservoir. A water authority might measure the volume of water in a number of reservoirs over a wide area. This information would then be sent to a central control unit that could ensure that customer receive an uninterrupted water supply and ensure that, if one reservoir is below a certain level, another supplies the water.

This is just one application of M2M. It could monitor and measure anything from the speed of water flow to the volume of gas in an underground storage facility and from traffic congestion in a city to environmental measurements in the atmosphere.

Which technology is most suited to my M2M project?

This will depend entirely on the project. M2M communications can be achieved on cellular networks, local RF, satellite or even using short distance technologies such as Bluetooth. Each communications technology has its own challenges and opportunities (and costs). In order to understand which communications technology is right for your M2M project it is important to understand exactly what needs to be achieved.

Why adopt M2M technology?

M2M technology makes it easier to monitor, manage and action critical data.

M2M technology has three key benefits:

Speed: information can be transmitted and actioned quickly

Convenience: because M2M is automated, there is no need for human intervention, meaning that remote areas can be monitored without having to send people to physically measure.

Cost: M2M is highly cost effective

What next?

To understand how M2M technology can help you reduce costs and improve efficiencies, please contact us

Case Studies for M2M

Person-to-person communications
R.N.L.I. relies on Wood & Douglas for crew communications

Issue: More than 4,800 volunteer lifeboat crew members risk their own lives every year to save lives at sea with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (R.N.L.I.). In charge of the all-weather lifeboat is the coxswain. Their duty is to rescue and safeguard the lives of those in danger whilst ensuring the safety of the lifeboat crew. Person-to-person communications plays a critical role during a rescue, but faces a range of challenges including...

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