Reporting from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the AP’s Peter Svensson looks at the coming machine-to-machine revolution:
Companies are promising that machine-to-machine, or M2M, technology will deliver all manner of services, from the prosaic to the world-changing. At U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.‘s booth here at the show, there’s a coffeepot that can be ordered to start brewing from a tablet computer, or an Internet-connected alarm clock. A former president of Costa Rica is also at the show, talking about how M2M can save massive amounts of greenhouse gases by making energy use more efficient — enough to bring mankind halfway to the goal of halting global warming.
The M2M phenomenon is part of the larger drive to create an “Internet of Things” — a global network that not only links computers, tablets and phones but that connects everything from bikes to washing machines to thermostats. Machina Research, a British firm, believes there will be 12.5 billion “smart” connected devices, excluding phones, PCs and tablets, in the world in 2020, up from 1.3 billion today.
Driving the M2M movement will be advanced networks — both wired and wireless — able to power the constant flow of data. To get there will take investment. As my fellow Chair Jamal Simmons recently wrote in Fierce Telecom:
[F]or consumers, businesses and our nation as a whole to benefit from the opportunities enabled by a high-speed, all IP-based broadband network, the entire ecosystem must invest.