Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in the context of the mobile Internet has been a subject of intense discussions over the past two years. Some see it as the next technology revolution after the computer and Internet. Some consider it simply hype. Others are cautious with a wait-and-see attitude.
Part of the confusion has been that M2M is not something completely new. For those familiar with embedded control, M2M is a natural extension of their existing business. They fail to see the explosive growth that others are excited about. Other people also remember the hightech bubbles in recent history, and question the practical future of M2M.
Intel recently completed an extensive study on the issues critical to the M2M industry. We exchanged views with leading equipment manufacturers, software vendors, and service providers.
In this article, we share some of our learning. We begin with our vision of the future embedded mobile Internet. Then we look at several M2M use cases that offer significant market potential. We discuss the requirements and challenges associated with mass-scale M2M networks, and describe potential system architectures and deployment options that can enable the connectivity of billions of low-cost devices.
We describe the salient features of M2M traffic that may not be supported efficiently by current standards and provides an overview of potential enhancements. Finally, we summarize the progress of standards development for M2M.
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