“The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Many are wondering what the M2M acronym means for their OSS.
M2M, or Machine to Machine, is sometimes touted as one possible saviour for CSPs that are losing revenues from their traditional cash cows like fixed-line voice networks. M2M is not really new, with telemetry networks carried over CSP links for years. However, it is the scale and rapid growth of “the internet of things” that builds importance of M2M for OSS. As sensors become smaller, cheaper and more integrated, more applications (in the broader sense of the word, not just the smart-phone / tablet context) will make use of them. Obviously the use of radio / mobile links rather than fixed lines also increases the myriad of ways that they can be used (read location-based data sources).
All predictions are towards that of rapid growth of the number of M2M links globally. For example, Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts the cellular M2M market is on track to reach 315 million connections globally, as well as annual M2M revenues of US$ 12.8 billion, by the end of 2015.
This points to serious carrier revenue streams and data streams that need to be managed. Obviously the CSPs want to provide more than just the connectivity and provide more value-added services. Similarly B/OSS has the potential to have a bigger part to play than just managing the connectivity.
When you break M2M management down into its constituent parts, you’ll notice a lot of commonalities with OSS:
- Near real-time network health management
- Inventory (the sensors and their comms links are effectively nodes and arcs, making them no different from other OSS)
- Traffic management
- Robust APIs
- Data security and integrity
- End-to-end service visibility (often through multiple layers of provider, technology or process)
The only key difference is the sensor bulk orders. grouping and management functionality, although even that has similarities with OSS that provision services en-masse to their customers (ie pre-paid mobile services).