M2M APPS: What do you think are the key opportunities and growth drivers for the m2m market in India?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Clearly Mobile M2M in emerging markets such as India is in nascent stage but facing tremendous blue ocean growth opportunity ahead. M2M will provide additional revenue stream to the cellular operators who are looking at new, profitable and sustainable services. Cellular operators will have a key role to play in delivering a complete M2M solution, enabling access to terminals and devices, building data analytics models and user management, terminal management applications and portal. Growth drivers: Private sectors and government organizations are contributing to the growth of M2M in India. M2M growth is driven by many factors including regulations, variety of business models, falling hardware cost, innovations. In India, need to reduce losses and improving cost efficiencies are key drivers. Government initiatives such as R-APDRP (Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reform Program), Aadhar, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) initiatives on smart metering, Microfinance and financial inclusion programs are driving adoption of wireless M2M based Electronic Point of Sales (EPOS) solutions. Process control and manufacturing in industrial automation, Logistic management like fleet management, monitoring goods and package movement, Retail store product tracking, Video and surveillance and Traffic management. Overall improvement in M2M device availability, price and performance ratios and large scale coverage of GPRS and 3G connectivity will aid to the future development of M2M.
M2M APPS: M2M has traditionally relied on 2G technology and has really just started to transition to 3G. Many have a conservative outlook on the adoption of 4G for M2M – what’s your take?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Most of the current M2M applications use 2G and to some extend 3G services. 4G is in nascent stage also 4G M2M based services may not be viable as the service is unavailable in the nook and corner of the country. Adoption of 4G for M2M will gain traction in time critical applications wherein services will require fast and reliable connectivity. Video surveillance based application for live streaming, health care and real time monitoring will require 4G connectivity to deliver efficient services.
M2M APPS: What have you seen as the biggest triumph for the M2M market in recent years?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Global players’ trying to realize the potential in Indian M2M space and have recently begun their operations is a major milestone in the history of Indian M2M sector. Mobile M2M is still an emerging service in India; some operators have so far experimented with possibilities in the recent past and are successful. Early stage players are bringing in cloud based data analytic solutions, M2M device monitoring applications to the market and exploring partnership opportunities and early market entry. Adoption and support from Regulatory bodies also seems to be in favor for M2M services.
M2M APPS: What are the m2m applications currently active in India?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Loop mobile’s “dial an auto service” provisioning M2M module in auto rickshaws that are functioning in Mumbai for tracking using Loop SIM card is a live and considerate solution from an Indian Operator. Bharti Airtel launched M2M based “Street light automation” service to control the power of street light in real time based on GPRS solution is live in Rajasthan. Smart meters are implemented in Hyderabad on a pilot basis for 700 connections and in New Delhi for over 10,000 households. BESCOM is planning to install smart prepaid meters for 7.3 million customers in Bangalore city. Pilot run is scheduled to begin shortly will be dramatic change in the industry. Reliance Infrastructure has established advanced metering solutions that would connect households with main electricity supply units.IBM works in close association with NDPL (New Delhi Power Limited) and Tata power to enhance digital automation of smart energy based solutions.
M2M APPS: From a consumer perspective, what’s changing in 2012? What do you see as the biggest trend?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Indian telecom is in transitions towards a data era .Customers is increasingly willing to adopt new technology and pay for valuable services that will fulfil their needs. More traffic will be generated by “Things” than “humans” with increasing M2M services. In steady state assuming data services are adequately available and vertical applications taken off, Indian market will consume millions of M2M devices. Some of the emerging verticals may have enterprise customers as well. The target subscriber community mainly will be mainly B2B. India will see M2M applications driven more to improve processes, reduce losses in power distribution and transmission, and improve efficiency for faster tracking of goods in movement/logistics, Automated Meter Reading (AMR), Electronic Point of Sales (EPOS), video surveillance security based and healthcare applications
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?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Operators will benefit from recurring network usage cost such as subscription fee and initial installation fee. Operators will have a key role to play in deploying the service, providing service to the end device, building data models. Operators, vendors and System integrators will build a scalable infrastructure that would leverage M2M applications. Existing telecom infrastructure has a large synergy with M2M requirements right from access device connectivity till BSS and OSS.M2M analytics and business intelligence the up-sell a mobile operator can make to an enterprise is significant. Mobile operators must understand specific verticals that have long term intelligence from connected devices. Once pilots are developed and executed then they can be scaled nation-wide or globally.
M2M APPS: What do you think are the main barriers to the diffusion of M2M technologies? And how do we overcome it?
SRIDHAR T. PAI: Challenges that we foresee are: • There may also be some routine challenges in developing, integrating and deploying M2M solutions. Development demands high expertise in technologies and keen understanding of business logics. • When device proliferates , M2M devices will send bulk data that needs to be channelized and handled properly .Time sensitive applications are tracked and needs to be sent at the right time to the right person to the right location • M2M devices will be deployed in unattended locations and so will be prone to direct attack of the device which is also a key challenge to be taken into consideration during deployment Solutions proposed: • There needs to be a trust worthy environment for end-end M2M solution to be nurtured and built into a rich industry enhancing eco system • Challenges put forth in M2M operations needs to be addressed by allocating separate functionality even at the chipset level to monitor security issues. Priority based QoS for time sensitive applications and scheduling less important data delivery during off-peak hours will help the channels to be available during peak hours for real time applications. • Building data analytics is a key solution to handle large data volumes • M2M devices need to be ruggedized to withstand external environmental challenges