M2M regulation a growing priority

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-03-10

M2M regulation is on the way. Here are some of the ways it might affect you. By the end of 2013, there were 195 million dedicated machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile connections worldwide, according to a GSM Association Study. This figure is expected to grow to 250 million during 2014. As the M2M subscriber base grows, regulators are increasingly looking into specific regulations for this new family of connections. A few countries are looking into specific M2M regulations. These include:

  • USA: The US Department of Transportation gave itself until the end of 2016 to issue broad regulations for the connected car
  • India: India's Department of Telecommunications and regulator TRAI are now working on M2M regulations
  • UAE: The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is discussing whether or not M2M requires a specific regulatory regime

In every country where M2M regulations are being considered, several issues are emerging:

  • taxation of M2M connections
  • who “owns” these connections
  • what family or families of numbers to use (ITU-authorized, IPv6)
  • how to deal with SIM-cards roaming permanently outside their country of origin in a variety of vehicles and applications

The list goes on. Regulators and regulatory departments at mobile operators and technology companies are trying hard to keep up with the latest developments. So are utility companies, fleet operators, and other businesses which are becoming increasingly dependent on M2M communications. The central issue emerging is data privacy and security. Beyond M2M, we are moving towards the Internet of Things (IoT). The combination of personal data (email, sms) with IoT data (the TV programs you watch, your refrigerator model, and so on) will eventually provide a detailed picture of individuals’ lifestyles and preferences. The question is, how will this data be protected? And what effect will the new regulations providing protection have on ICT industry players? To give one example, mobile operators are increasingly worried about cross-border privacy legislation, which provides penalties for data violation. This is a particularly thorny issue because data is shared within an ecosystem of other technology-enablers, systems integrators, and service providers. If there is a violation, who within the ecosystem is liable? How can members of an ecosystem share responsibility for data privacy and security? The bottom line is that a brave new world is here. For the past two years, TechPolis has invested in understanding this world and the policy and regulatory environment which is emerging, to cope with it. If you need a crash course in M2M regulation please contact us (info@techpolis.com).

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