What do Smart Cities and M2M platform standards have in common? In Beecham Research’s latest Snaps newsletter – published today – we have an article on each of these subjects, which we think should be linked a lot more closely than they currently are.
The first – The Connected City, see this link – looks at the different concepts of the Smart City and how these are taking shape. Of course, the easiest way to create a Smart City is to build it from scratch. That way you can be sure that all the services delivered are compatible and inter-operate. However, you don’t build a new city every day, except perhaps in China. Cities are generally old with a long history and already have a myriad of different services delivered in different ways, usually by very different organizations. How do you make sense of that – in the form of one over-arching technical platform through which all services are delivered – and is it worth doing in any case?
I spoke at the Smart Cities Congress in Barcelona on November 14 and had a chance to look around the show floor. I was struck by the large number of exhibitors there with large stands – from technology suppliers, service providers and system integrators to major cities – and gained the distinct impression that many think it is worth doing. I also gained the distinct impression that there is considerably more heat than light at present on how to achieve it.
The second article – The Way Ahead for an M2M Platform Standard?, see this link – looks at what is currently happening in standards development for M2M platforms, and arises out of Beecham’s attendance at the most recent ETSI workshop at the end of October. While it was clear that standards bodies around the world are trying to bring their activities together in the OneM2M initiative, it is less clear that this reflects what is actually happening in the market.
According to Beecham Research’s own count, there are already over 100, typically cloud-based, M2M platforms out in the marketplace that are being used for M2M solutions. Some deal with connectivity, some with applications and a few with both. There is no reason to believe that many of these readily inter-operate or are taking much notice of the standards work going on (TIA’s TR-50 is probably closest to current market players). So how is the market likely to achieve “one over-arching technical platform through which all services are delivered”?
There is an opportunity for the OneM2M work to be reflected in platforms for Internet of Things solutions like Smart Cities as distinct from M2M ones. It is not at all clear to us that this is the target that is being aimed at though.