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M2M/IoT enabling smart infrastructure

The adoption of M2M/IoT devices and technologies has been increasing at a tremendous rate worldwide. There have been different estimates by different organizations regarding the possible number of connected devices, varying from 24 billion to 50 billion connected devices globally by the year 2020. One can safely imagine that there are going to be billions of connected devices in the near term and trillions of devices in the long term. Multiple and different kinds of sensors and communication technologies have helped to create applications and use cases that were beyond imagination some years ago. Connected devices may be in various verticals such as Automotive (Intelligent Transport System), Power Sector (Smart Metering and Smart Grid), Healthcare, Safety & Surveillance, Smart Homes, Water Management, Waste Management, Smart Parking, and Agriculture. These verticals will work as a pillar for the smart sities.

There may be around 2.6 billion connected devices in India by 2020. Eco-system is to be developed for 5 billion connected devices by 2022 as per National Digital Communication Policy 2018 released by DoT.

M2M communication refers to the technologies that allow wired/wireless system to communicate with devices of the same ability. M2M uses a device (sensor, meter etc.) to capture an event (motion, meter reading, temperature etc.), which is relayed through a network (wireless, wired or hybrid) to an application (software program), that translates the captured event into meaningful information.

The enabling technologies for M2M communication are sensor networks, RFID, mobile Internet, wired & wireless communication network, and IPv4/IPv6. M2M is a subset of IoT. IoT is a more encompassing phenomenon because it also includes Human-to-Machine communication (H2M).

Internet of Things. All the computers connected to the internet can talk to each other. Use of mobile phones for connecting internet has revolutionized the entire scenario. With the Internet of Things the communication is extended via internet among all the things that surround us.

ITU-T in its Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060 (06/2012) has defined IoT, as a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies.

IoT is one of the most disruptive technologies as on date across the globe. It will also be benefitted by a number of technologies such as M2M, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Edge/Distributed Computing, Big Data Analytics, Blockchain, and 5G.

Enabling Communication Technologies. IoT domain comprises devices, gateways, communication technologies, platform and applications.

M2M/ IoT will have a large number of communication technologies such as RFID, NFC, BLE working in very short range, Low Power Wireless, Cellular (2G, 3G, LTE/ LTE advanced, 5G), Fixed Line Broadband, Power Line Communication, Cellular LPWAN (EC-GSM, NB-IoT, LTE-MTC) and non-cellular LPWAN (LoRa, Sigfox etc.). Technical Report on Communication Technologies in M2M/IoT domain has already been released in TEC.

5G will be the ultimate technology for IoT domain as it will have massive M2M and URLLC (ultra reliable low latency communication) features. URLLC may be used in robotic surgery, Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication and drones. Through Massive M2M, one million devices/square km may be connected. Such type of features are not available in present days technologies.

Embedded SIM. GSMA has created specifications for embedded M2M SIM, with Over-the-Air (OTA) provisioning. Temperature variation range is from -40 degrees to +125 degrees Celsius. Embedded SIM technology offers big opportunities for auto manufacturers as the lifecycle of an eSIM is, around 10-15 years.

Dedicated short-range communication (DSRC). Technology based on 802.11p WLAN standards was developed in the USA around 20 years back. Its main uses are Vehicle Safety Service, commercial transaction via cars, toll collection, traffic management, V2V, and V2I communication. This technology is being used in the USA, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Singapore.

Cellular V2X (Vehicle to everything). V2X comprises vehicle to vehicle (V2V), vehicle to infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) and Vehicle to Network (V2N). 3GPP in its Release 14 has provided the specifications for cellular V2X which provides improvements over 802.11p/DSRC technology for active safety use cases and beyond. 5G roadmap will improve the connected vehicle segment built on cellular V2X.

DSRC/Cellular V2X may help in building Intelligent Transport System and in turn will resolve the large number of issues of the automotive sector.

Challenges in the IoT domain

There is a need to generate indigenous IPR for the creation of standards and further contribution in global Standard Developing Organizations (SDOs). Reliable connectivity, interoperability at device, network and platform levels, localization of data in cross border traffic, spectrum requirement for low power devices, security/privacy, slow deployment of IPv6 are some of the important challenges are required to be resolved.

Standardization at global level. A number of international organizations namely, ITU, IEC, ISO, OneM2M, 3GPP, ETSI, and IEEE are working on the standardization work in IoT domain

ITU-T created a new Study Group-20 in June 2015, to work on IoT and its applications including Smart Cities and communities. ITU-T SG-20 has released a large number of standards in the form of technical documents.

OneM2M. It is a partnership project created by ETSI, Europe; TTC; ARIB , Japan; ATIS; TIA, USA; TTA, Korea; CCSA, China; and TSDSI, India; to create standards for the common service layer. OneM2M has released the first set of specifications in Jan 2015 and its second in March 2016. OneM2M has submitted its technical specifications in ITU-T SG-20 for approval/adoption.

Work carried out in IoT division TEC in M2M/IoT domain. A major initiative was taken by Telecom Engineering Centre to set up multi-stakeholders working groups in the M2M/IoT domain. Twelve multi-stakeholders working groups have been formed in the last 2 -3 years.

Twelve Technical Reports (TRs) have been released in the last three years. These technical reports are in the verticals such as M2M enablement in power sector, automotive, remote health management, smart homes, and smart cities and common to all the verticals ie communication technologies in M2M/IoT domain, embedded SIM, gateway & architecture. These reports may be assessed using web link

A large number of actionable points have emerged from these technical reports. Some of the important are:

Based on the work in technical report, 13 digit M2M Numbering scheme for SIM-based devices/gateways, which will co-exist with the existing 10 digit numbering scheme in use, was prepared in TEC. DoT has already approved this scheme and issued orders to all the telecom service providers for implementation. Five codes of 3 digit each (559, 575, 576, 579 and 597) have been allotted as an M2M identifier.

Based on technical report, IR has been prepared in TEC. DoT has approved the use of embedded SIM with OTA provisioning in May 2018.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. India has already included Embedded SIM with OTA provisioning in AIS140 standard which specifies the conditions and specifications for the use of connected devices in vehicles.
Spectrum requirement for low power RF communications in sub GHz band.
Any device/gateway having direct connectivity with PSTN/PLMN should have static IP (IPv6 or dual stack). It will be better to migrate to IPv6 as an earliest. BIS has mandated IPv6 for smart meters to be connected on cellular technologies, IS16444.
Licensing for LPWAN on non-cellular technologies, providing public services.
Common service layer requirement at the platforms, important for data sharing, Security and interoperability.

Participation in ITU-T SG-20. TEC is actively participating in ITU-T SG-20 meetings and submitting contributions after discussion in national working group-20, being chaired by DDG (IoT) and having members from all stakeholders.

Some important contributions submitted by IoT division, TEC are IoT use cases namely, vehicle emergency call system (e-call), e-SIM and digital identity based applications for Automotive vertical, remote health monitoring, connected smart homes and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).

Continuous efforts and participation in SG-20 meetings in the last 2 years have resulted in the agreement/approval of the use case document in ITU-T SG-20 meeting, China, Dec 2018. This document is being published by ITU. These use cases may be implemented to create smart infrastructure, which will resolve the number of issues of the respective vertical and in turn improve the quality of life.


IoT as a disruptive technology is leading the next wave of transformational change. It is very much required to use the standards-based technologies so that the technology works not only for today but for the future also.

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