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M2M: The secret behind a smart connected world

Manoj Kumar Rai, Head of M2M Solutions, South Asia & Japan at Gemalto | Aug. 26, 2015
M2M is reinventing and simplifying the way businesses operate for a wide range of industries. What's next?

Key drivers fuelling the surging demand for IoT
As highlighted in a recent study by BI Intelligence, there are many factors contributing to the explosive growth of IoT. Firstly, all IoT devices leverage on a slew of sensors to monitor their surrounding environment, and their cost has declined by almost 50 percent in the past decade.

Secondly, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that 40 percent of the world population is connected to the Internet. By 2019, this will increase to around 57 percent, providing a readily available and substantial user base.

Thirdly, IoT is heavily dependent on remote-control devices, predominantly smartphones and tablets, to manage the system. Smartphones currently account for 69 percent of mobile phones sold globally, and the market share is still growing year-on-year, especially in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea. These countries have some of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world, paving the way for the IoT movement to propagate in Asia.

But most importantly, a new standard is now available to unify the previously fragmented M2M and IoT market, marking a major milestone and era of interoperability for M2M hardware and software from different vendors. OneM2M, a consortium consisting of the world's ICT governing bodies and over 200 companies like Gemalto, has been established to lead this global initiative, aimed at accelerating M2M innovations and market adoption.

Hurdles that can potentially derail mass adoption
Despite all the tangible benefits of IoT and its positive outlook, security and privacy issues are still on the top of the agenda for some consumers and businesses.

The "always-on" nature of IoT, compounded by the sheer number of connected devices, presents a major security challenge on an unprecedented scale, demanding both expertise and considerable resources to develop a 360-degree security solution. Without robust and fail-safe security measures, sensitive data and identity theft can lead to a privacy breach, greatly affecting the user confidence and public acceptance of IoT.

From a regulatory standpoint, national roaming, spectrum licensing, and data sovereignty are also other potential issues identified in a recent report from Machina Research. For example, a US company serving its customers in Europe can have its data centre located in Asia, leading to a web of different (or potentially conflicting) data sovereignty law, which can be extremely problematic and costly to navigate.

The good news is there are now companies like Gemalto that offer a full range of strong end-to-end security solutions to counter these hurdles. From M2M devices with embedded security software to add-on hardware modules featuring authentication and data encryption capabilities, M2M applications and data can be secured all the way from device to the backend servers, helping organisations to remain compliant and in control at all times.


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