Communications Testing & Measurement Solutions for the Mobile M2M Industry

Todd Cotts, Director, Product Management
Mosaik Solutions

Anyone observing or participating in the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) industry today knows the industry is growing rapidly, with the number of M2M connected devices predicted to reach 20 billion by 2022, according to Machina Research (a trade group for mobile device makers).  The clear advantage of M2M is that companies can now connect, monitor, manage, and optimize various devices remotely, without the added costs and inefficiencies of being there physically. From health to environmental monitoring, from security to energy management, and from asset tracking to fleet management, the possibilities today and over the next decade for M2M solutions seem endless.

With M2M connected devices, companies can now collect actionable data faster and accurately without human intervention. In agriculture, farming companies can remotely track yield per acre, acres per hour and even fuel consumption in gallons per hour. In transportation, M2M devices are used to track and monitor vehicles, whereas in healthcare, M2M enables providers to capture biometric data remotely from patients, including blood pressure and heart rate, or even whether or not a patient is taking prescribed medications on time and at the correct dosage.  In addition, today we are seeing a rapid growth in the connected vehicle market, with the next car being equipped with full smartphone integration, digital dashboard, ability to monitor teen drivers, travel guidance apps, autonomous driving capability, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s a connected world, and M2M plays a huge role today and over the coming decade in increasing and enhancing that level of connectivity, in some cases in ways we have not yet imagined.

M2M devices have historically communicated via landline connections, and, to some extent, many of them always will. However, the advantages of devices being able to communicate wirelessly are immense, untethering the devices from human intervention, and allowing them to download and upload vast amounts of critical data while being mobile (i.e. connected vehicles). For M2M devices to deliver fast, accurate, and constant data to the organizations they are assigned to, they must remain connected at anytime (and even all the time) and anywhere (even globally) to existing and reliable wireless networks from mobile operators. To help organizations deploy and monitor M2M mobile devices, therefore, it is necessary they test and measure the performance of the networks they rely on to connect their machines.

Today, the Communications Testing & Measurement (CT&M) industry has evolved to help companies ensure their M2M devices and solutions are deployed and operated in areas where quality wireless network coverage exists. With downloadable software apps, hybrid software apps and cloud solutions, and even highly sophisticated RF engineering solutions, companies can now test both Wi-Fi and cellular networks to determine signal strength, downlink and uplink speeds, type of cellular technology (i.e. CDMA, HSPA, LTE), packet loss, jitter, and other key performance metrics associated with the existence and reliability of a wireless network where M2M devices are deployed and operate.

Without knowing which wireless network operator provides service in a particular location, the type of technology available in a location, and how reliable the network is in a location, companies that rely on M2M mobile devices for monitoring and managing assets are forced to rely on costly and time-consuming human intervention. Without testing and measuring the performance of a wireless network, companies that rely on M2M mobile devices cannot remain competitive.

In the next part of this series, we will dive deeper into the Communications Testing & Measurement market today, and discuss many of the different types of testing and measurement solutions.

Mosaik_ToddCottsTodd Cotts
As the director of product management, Cotts is responsible for balancing the competing interests of Mosaik’s clients, sales and product management to deliver valuable and marketable solutions.  With more than 13 years of telecom experience, he has served in roles from marketing to product management for some of the industry’s leading names such as Sprint/Nextel and Kyocera Communications. His many areas of expertise include cross-functional collaboration, training and leadership, product lifecycle management, market research, project management, process improvement, customer facing and trade show marketing and the end-to-end RFP process. 

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