23 Jul 2024


Telcos will help to drive M2M communications

Telecommunications companies (telcos) are going to play an increasingly important role in providing factory-floor communications and driving the growth of the Internet of Things in the manufacturing sector, predicts a new report from the analyst, Frost & Sullivan.

“Telcos’ ability to offer enterprise-grade communication services, integrated with plant-level communications, is critical to reliable plant-level operations,” explains F&S information and communication technologies research analyst, Shuba Ramkumar. “Existing partner networks can also be leveraged to provide end-to-end services, including network implementation, provision of applications, and data analytics.

“In areas where telcos do not have in-house expertise, there is room for partnerships with automation providers, system integrators, or data analytic providers,” Ramkumar adds. “Acquiring smaller companies that specialise in innovative enterprise mobility applications and data analytics will help telcos capitalise on the immense potential available for M2M (machine-to-machine) communications in the manufacturing sector.”

The manufacturing sector has traditionally used wired networks to automate plant operations. However, emerging M2M systems such as short-range wireless and long-range cellular networks are evolving into preferred options for factories of the future, says the report, called M2M Communication in Manufacturing.

It adds that M2M systems can supplement or replace wired networks to enable advanced robotics and enterprise mobility on the plant floor, provide connections in inaccessible areas, communicate across barriers, and simplify installations based on wireless local area, wide area, and sensor networks.

The report warns, however, that the pace at which these M2M communications technologies will be adopted could be held back because the “traditionally conservative manufacturing sector” will be apprehensive about potential downtime and the risk to the value and quality of their output.

Security concerns are another reason why manufacturers are reluctant to adopt wireless networks. Also, the relative inexperience of telcos in this market could dissuade manufacturers from using their services.

The report suggests that educating manufacturers on the benefits of advanced M2M technologies, ensuring secure functioning of wireless networks, and consulting with manufacturers to tailor solutions to their requirements, will help to make smart manufacturing a reality that much quicker.