M2M Politics, Privacy and Regulatory

M2M  is certainly more cost-effective and widespread than its predecessor telemetry and SCADA services. M2M brings many benefits, but despite the ease and cost with which it can be rolled out, M2M will have a few hurdles to clear, such as standards and regulatory approvals. In addition, M2M can impinge upon and sometimes invade the privacy of individuals. 

A device, such as a wireless phone, GSM modem or PDA phone that connects to a wireless carrier’s network requires approval from the carrier and a number of governmental bodies before it can be deployed. For example, a GSM modem purchased from a supplier is not necessarily a carrier-approved device. The device may be built to GSM specifications and may comply with FCC and Underwriter Laboratories (UL) directives, but the device, in reality, may not be used on the network. It is only when the device is integrated to a hardware interface and is controlled by new firmware that it can begin the entire approval process. 

Application developers often overlook this point. Each GSM device, be it a phone or a module, is issued an International Mobile Equipment Identity Number (IMEI number). The IMEI is maintained in a register showing the allocation to a particular manufacturer of a particular model and type of device. The information is held in a database by the carriers (when approved) and the GSM Association for incorporation into their Type Accreditation Database (TAD) and Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR). 

When a device is authenticated on a network, the GSM network, following protocol, checks to ensure that the IMEI is that of an approved device. If not, then according to each carrier’s policies, the service provided to that device can be anything from normal to irregular to denied. This means that when an application developer performs trials on a prototype device with no prior approval, it is likely that the quality of network service (and thus the test results) will be highly questionable. 

For more information, see: 

http://www.mindcommerce.com/Publications/End-to-End_M2M_4thEd.php

About Mind Commerce

Analysis of telecom and ICT infrastructure, technologies, and applications.
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