M2M APPS: The M2M market has experienced continuous growth in recent years, opening important horizons for the ICT market. Moreover, the consolidation of Telecommunications and Information Technology has been accelerated by the spread of wireless technologies (GSM, GPRS, UMTS, WLAN, and Bluetooth) and the evolution of M2M modules. Which do you think are the advantages and the opportunities that the M2M market may offer in the telecommunications sector?
VINCENZO LOBIANCO: I would like to rephrase the question, the development of technologies and mobile networks (wireless) that supports data transmission in the area and allows you to plan the introduction of devices and M2M applications is the one benefiting the transmission infrastructure provision by wireless operators. Therefore it is the M2M world which takes advantage of the presence of a transmission network mobile on different technologies in order to develop and implement solutions that work in terms of the connection. It’s clear that the development of M2M solutions leads to an enrichment of the business case for wireless operators and allows them to provide additional services to offer to the market, thereby increasing the future viability of a wireless network. (I refer to wireless networks in general even if the technologies currently offered by mobile communications networks are the most promising for the applications we're talking about). It should be highlighted that, from the point of view of use of resources for data transmission, the single device or M2M application does not need to exchange large volumes of traffic (non requiring high bandwidth) but when the developments will lead to millions or billions of devices (Internet of things) traffic volume will increase significantly. Networks with appropriate coverage and transmission capacity will be required to support not only M2M traffic, but also traditional one such as voice, internet access, file transfer, streaming, etc.
M2M APPS: From a legislative point of view, which are the current regulations applied to the M2M market?
VINCENZO LOBIANCO: From the Authority regulatory perspective we can anticipate two aspects: first, the provision of an adequate frequency resource for wireless networks and the numbering and addressing of individual devices. If we take into consideration how the introduction of 800 band (Race LTE) introduced additional resources and others that are expected in the next few years. Secondly, M2M devices will be connected through a public network and therefore must be recognized and addressable with numbers or IP addresses taking into consideration the limit if the resource and the expected explosion in the number of devices. Since these two aspects are still in the preliminary phase, further assessments cannot be given, nor can future regulation needs.
M2M APPS: How do you evaluate the Italian M2M market compared with other countries across the globe? In which industries does Italy hold a dominant position and in which ones must it improve?
VINCENZO LOBIANCO: As a pioneer in AMR, Italy gained a valuable experience for the electric meter. We’re also facing an interesting level of innovation and new initiatives. However, we are at an early stage and there are still no proposals coming from the market regarding developments from mobile operators or companies providing those services.
M2M APPS: What are your policies to support the spread of M2M applications?
VINCENZO LOBIANCO: Our commitment at this time is primarily towards the development of frequency resources allocated to data networks for the supply of "traditional" and new services like M2M.
M2M APPS: What do you think are the main barriers to the diffusion of M2M technologies? And what are the drivers of growth?
VINCENZO LOBIANCO: The cost of the network services and data transmission may be a barrier, since the applications do not require transmitting huge data quantities so cost effectiveness is necessary for development and deployment. Even the use of international roaming with high costs could be a barrier for applications that are not meant to be limited on national territory. I’m referring to vehicles that can check the performance and integrity and communicate such data to the service center or fleets for goods transportation which must be continuously in contact with the supply headquarters. This integration should be driven by the unique data network (optimal coverage of the whole territory) and be able to ensure the solution with connection continuity of the M2M devices. Appropriate pricing policies might support strongly the development of M2M applications.
M2M APPS: How do you see a future in which all objects are connected ("Internet of things")?
VINCENZO LOBIANCO: The perspective is very interesting in terms of technology and daily support in life, work or productivity. However, it may develop controversial on the social dynamics. The idea of having instruments, devices, and applications that interact with each other without direct control by the user may bring problems (such as privacy, security, control of persons etc.) that need to be properly assessed before it becomes too difficult to go back after massive deployment. Take for example the social network: when social networks have reached several hundred million users, the issue of management and use of personal data was finally raised and, as far as I’m concerned, the right solution has not yet been found.