Cellular/M2m Convergence

Short-range wireless sensor networking technologies and cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies are increasingly being bundled in complementary fashion to deploy M2M services, according to a recent study from ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), Oyster Bay, N.Y.

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“The addition of short-range wireless to cellular M2M extends its reach into the local deployment area,” says ABI Senior Analyst Sam Lucero. “Some applications need that or can benefit from it; others don’t and can’t.”

Lucero sees four key areas in which applications can benefit from the integration of short-range wireless and cellular M2M technologies. One of those is automation and control The others are metering, security and telematics.

Wireless support

In the automation and control space, one example might involve situations in which equipment vendors want to provide service and support for their products, but are not given access through the customer’s wired network, says Lucero. In these cases, cellular connections combined with short range wireless technology in the customer plant might be an option.

Another example might involve remote oil and gas monitoring applications, says Lucero, in which an oil or gas field owner could deploy cellular M2M connectivity paired with wireless sensor networks in the field.

According to the ABI report, the use of short-range wireless technologies will have a significant impact on market growth for certain types of cellular M2M modules. The researcher projects that by 2011, shipments of cellular M2M modules in sectors affected by short-range wireless will be—at more than 45 million units—more than double those in segments where the impact is not felt. The latter category includes telemedicine, information display, vending machines and automated teller machines.

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