M2M Communication is present in different segments of todays life and business. Mainly in the automotive area, where we already see strong initiatives to make cars a mobile device ... also in terms of communication. Services, like In-Car Multimedia, Car Data Analysis or Traffic Flow and General Situation and Location based Information Services (Where is the closest gas station?) are forming a new environment of experience in the vehicular area.
Other important areas of M2M Communication are Security (Surveilance, Physical Access Control), Payment/Money Transfer, Tracking/Tracing of Objects, Healthcare (e.g. Body Sensors), Public Sector (SmartCities, SmartEnergy), Consumer Electronics, Metering, and Remote Maintenance/Control.
This diversity of M2M Communication areas already shows that there is no easy straight-forward approach to address all M2M Communication needs.
Machines in this understanding are typically simple devices, which have sensing or acting functionality (Sensors and Actuators). They are limited in their CPU/RAM, available power, network connectivity and availability and do not require human interaction.
Machine type communication would thereby also reach from minimum to maximum, like a sensor sending a single value once a days up to a camerea, sending a continous video stream. Also, M2M Communication does not necessarily mean a direct communication, but can (and will) involve access networks and Service Platforms. This implies very different classes for a Qualitiy of Service oriented network, which connects the devices.
Additionally, machines can be mobile and still need to communicate. This makes M2M communication the killer application of today's mobile networks, as the available capacities in terms of spectrum, SIM cards and processing are limited and not ready for those usage areas.
Fraunhofer FOKUS has a long term history in research in the area of mobile networks. Architectures like EPS/EPC are the basis for research in the area of M2M Communication. Therefore activities are in this area in order to enable M2M Commuinication in Next Generation Mobile Networks.
Gaps exist in the areas of session management for non-SIP based terminals (machines), identity management and performance network access. Research focuses on extending and modifying existing infrastructures especially IMS and EPC with M2M enabling elements, which close the gaps and allow efficient, scalable and dynamic M2M based services.