Are more wireless standards needed for M2M?

April 24, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
Matthias Poppel, chief operating officer for EnOcean GmbH, reckons established wireless protocols can gain traction in machine-to-machine communications but only if they are open to the requirements of applications.

With IPv6 providing an address space of more than 280 billion, the Internet usage paradigm has shifted into a new phase. Content can now automatically be generated and/or consumed not only by human users but also by machines. The age of deep connectivity starts to become reality.

But what about all the other wireless standards such as Bluetooth, Wireless-M-Bus, etc. that are already established and in use for different areas of application? Given the success of IP, will these other standards disappear?

The current development is a challenge and an opportunity for existing standards. The individual disciplines have long been viewed as separate areas, with optimized, isolated solutions developed for each one. The goal today, however, is to break down these boundaries and combine the different aspects into one, intelligent overall system with a core network shaped by IPv6.

The solution to this approach lies in open interfaces and specifications with few obstacles to integration. However, this means that existing systems must become more open. In doing so, they can bring in their benefits and capture even new fields of application, assuming a new role in this connected world.

Energy harvesting wireless solutions are a good example of how this could look.

Self-powered wireless technology is a particularly good choice for transmitting states and measured values from wireless switches, sensors, and actuators. Therefore, the wireless standard is very well established in building automation systems that allow an intelligent control of energy, comfort, and security. Due to the technology's specific characteristics – being wireless, battery-less, and maintenance-free – self-powered sensors are also attractive to monitor outdoor data in the environment.