While consumer electronics make up a large portion of global Machine to Machine (M2M) use alongside telematics, according to a recent study from Juniper Research, there is still a huge industrial market which requires a fair amount of special attention. Indeed, many mobile devices that facilitate M2M communication need to function in specific extreme scenarios, such as on oil pipelines, in refrigerated trucks and on freighter ships.
As these devices have become crucial to modern operations in many industries, they must operate even in extreme heat, cold or humidity, transmitting data without interruption for long periods. Indeed, mobile M2M communication facilitates countless new applications in any number of industries.
According to market analysts at Berg Insight, approximately 81 million machines are already connected in wireless networks around the world, but that number is likely to hit 270 million by 2015. By Strategy Analytics' estimates, the number of M2M modules in operation by 2020 will be over a billion.
It is because of the seemingly unlimited uses for M2M communications — vehicles in a car-sharing pool relaying location, mileage and fuel level, for example — that the M2M market is experiencing, and will continue to experience, this boom. However, the more areas that rely on M2M, the more important reliable data transmission becomes.
While typical smartphones can operate in temperatures between 14 and 104 degrees F, humidity, dust and dirt can cause many devices to cease functioning. Extreme M2M solutions, obviously, must be able to withstand such obstacles and much more. It all comes down to the SIM (subscriber identity module) card, which handles network allocation and authentication and is typically the weak point in terms of withstanding extreme conditions.
While the classic 2FF SIM card, as well as the micro SIM, are both convenient and reliable for commercial use, they tend to offer a weak point where the SIM contact surface meets the contact springs. However, for rugged devices, there is an alternative option: MFF SIMs. The MFF SIM can operate between -40 and 212 degrees F and features corrosion-resistant contacts soldered into the circuit board, making it much more robust than plug-in SIMs. Furthermore, integration into electronics provides protection from theft.
Such innovations in SIM chips will help forward M2M growth, while promoting greater efficiency and cost savings.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey