M2M technology most certainly has arrived.
Wireless networks now deliver reliable, affordable, secure Internet access all over the globe. With the advent 4G LTE networks, the enterprise can access a consistent, high bandwidth connection, but without the on-site network requirements, setup, or ongoing maintenance of traditional infrastructure. While the collective global electricity grid serves approximately 80% of the worldâ€™s population, the wireless “grid” now already reaches 85% of the worldâ€™s populationâ€”and that reach continues to expand.
This spells major opportunities to connect with customers, clients, and users. Any event or gathering can offer ATM services, kiosks can be placed anywhere there is a cell signal on an independent network, construction sites can stream video surveillance, retailers can display intelligent signage (including streamed video) to communicate instantly with customers, and public transportation agencies can provide wireless Internet connections for commuters. 4G is approximately 10 times faster than 3G and is quickly becoming the standard across the globe.
By obsoleting the need to set up a WiFi network or pull cables for an Ethernet LAN based network, the cost of the technology has dropped. With easier deployments and maintenance, the distributed enterprise reduces IT and component maintenance costs as well. With devices getting smaller by the day, it is now feasible to embed network connectivity into almost any customer application.
The industry is buzzing with the magnitude of possibilities, with estimations in the trillions, based on the number of potential connected devices, whether machines or mobile phones. The technologyâ€™s potential have been widely cited:
- Wireless traffic will exceed traffic from wired devices.
- The number of Internet connected devices will be double the number of people on the planet. More than half of those are expected to connect wirelessly.
- The average mobile network connection speed will grow and will exceed 2.9 Mbps in 2016.
- There will be over 10 billion mobile connected devices in 2016.
Wireless networks have worked tirelessly at covering more area, yet wireless voice revenues are falling. Understanding the simple truth that the predominant use for wireless is no longer the basic phone call; many network providers are now focusing on M2M applications as they seek higher revenue margins and lower customer churn.