Exponential growth for M2M devices and connections have been forecast by a number of analysts recently, but it has also been pointed out that this growth may be dependent on a number of factors. In a recent article, Viodi identified a number of issues that may have to be addressed to ensure the market potential is realised. These include, amongst others, IP address space, network operations capabilities, platform interoperability, management, and so on. We would suggest another factor is also important: the ability to manage and prioritise the enormous amounts of data that will be generated by M2M devices.
If the market really does accelerate to meet predictions, there will be also be exponential growth in the volume of data transiting the network. Some of this data will be low priority and not time-sensitive, but a significant proportion will be real-time and impose an increasingly heavy burden on network infrastructure. It will be essential to be able to manage this data and ensure that the right data is delivered at the right time. Just as the capacity crunch has hit subscriber data access, so a similar crunch can be expected in M2M applications that use the same radio access network. Operators deploying M2M solutions need to consider how they will cope with this demand from the outset, in order to avoid boot-strapping the network in the future.