My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: AT&T, NFC, and M2M - Cashless Society and the Internet of Things

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AT&T, NFC, and M2M - Cashless Society and the Internet of Things

Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy on necessary of the soul.

Thoreau, Walden: Conclusion

It nice to have computers and even appliances that talks to you. Spooky but nice, an indication of the Coming of Age of AI (Artificial Intelligence) as opined in my blog article entitled “Google and AI - The Matrix and the Terminator Rise of the Machines”.

The Internet creates a means for easier communication, which may eventually become the SOLE means of communication for both Voice and Data, all encoded as streams of 1’s and 0’s, thus leaving the old Switched voice Networks empty of traffic.

This was a future about which I used to prognosticate, much to the displeasure of C&W Management as beautifully laid out in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and SMS - The Dead Zone” in which I predicted that by 2011 there would be a quantum shift towards less Voice, more messaging and texting, and an increasing amount of Video Calling as trend to watch.

However, do not be surprised if this “Dead Zone” will not eventually be occupied by another type of traffic: M2M (Machine-to-Machine Communications) as predicted in the article “Why Internet of Things will Change Mobile Networks”, published December 30, 2010, 1:00pm PDT By Om Malik, GigaOM.

Fall neatly in line with another prior more intense analysis I also observed in another of my blog articles entitled “Telecom Providers and Data - Verizon gets their wish”, in which, based on the experiences of Telecom Provider AT&T, I predicted an avalanche of Data on Telecom Provider Verizon’s Data Network, slated to peak at 3.6 exabytes per month by 2014 as more devices begin to use the Internet according to Cisco, a maker of Networking Equipment.

Telecom Provider AT&T, now officially billed as the worst Telecoms Provider in the United States of America according to Consumer Report, is actually the most experienced, especially at trying out new experimental products. Most obvious coming to mind is the Apple iPhone (2007), then the Apple iPad (2010).

The following statement about M2M Communications on Telecom Provider AT&T Network by Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight is most interesting, quote: “In Q1-2011, we expect that AT&T will become the first mobile operator to reach 10 million M2M subscribers after more than doubling the installed base in the past 12 months, largely thanks to a successful strategy for connected consumer electronics devices”.

Especially as Telecom Provider AT&T has been the first of the Big four (4) Telecom Providers to enforce Data Caps as explained in my blog articles entitled “AT&T and Capped data Plans - Skype is no longer free” and later decided to begin investing in M2M communications as per the article “AT&T connects everything to its network”, published March 24, 2010 6:55 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - CTIA 2010.

M2M Communications, which is also inclusive of NFC (Near Field Communications) that is now a standard on the Google Nexus S and a possibility on the Apple iPhone refresh due out later in January 2011 as reported in my blog articles entitled “Telecom Provider, Apple, Google and NFC - In Her Majesty's Secret Service”, may use 3G, 4G and Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.1n) Networks.

The 2G Data services, which primarily operate within the Voice Services still lay fallow for utilization, such as the GPRS (Global Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution).

This may sound surprising, but these slower speeds services are just ripe for M2M Communications, as most of the Data being transmitted is encrypted text-based numerical strings for applications as diverse as ATM (Automated Teller Machines), POS (Point of Sale) Devices and Remote Telemetry devices for Remote Data Capture.

NFC (Near Field Communication) is especially relevant, involving banking transactions using your smartphone that replaces the need to use Credit Cards for transactions as simple as buying movie tickets to even buying your dream home.

A modification of Bluetooth, NFC’s four centimeter (4 cm) permitted transmit range means that 100MBps Data transfers are secure by virtue of proximity. Not to mention its use of low power WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access)! Great for paying for train tickets, bus and stadium passes and movie tickets – and the obvious hyper fast smartphone to smartphone transfers.

Mobile banking, which is of relevance currently to Jamaica is our connection to this nascent trend, especially as it helps to make banks more efficient as stated in the article “The Case for Mobile Banking”, published Friday, November 19, 2010 by AL EDWARDS, The Jamaica Observer.

Haiti is also being brought into the 21st Century, thanks to Telecom Provider Digicel as stated in the article “Digicel brings mobile banking to Haiti”, published Wednesday, November 24, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Conceivably, this is much in the same way that every smartphone phone has Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and Bluetooth connectivity standard allowing for M2M Communications between smartphones as stated in my blog article entitled “Wi-Fi, LightPeak and PowerLine Broadband - The Young and the Restless”.

SIM cards may also soon be standard in appliances if the GSMA (Global System Mobile Alliance) according to the article “SIM cards to grow beyond mobile phones”, published November 18, 2010 4:04 AM PST, by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech, as corroborated by the article “GSMA hopes to put a SIM card in every electronic device”, published Monday November 22 2010 by Jeffrey Van Camp, Yahoo! News.

This would allow machines, from the lowly refrigerator, blender and other household appliances to the loft perches occupied by the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle and other consumer electronics to communicate to their host server by themselves or send data requested by a host server as per the chilling observations opined in my blog article entitled “Google and AI - The Matrix and the Terminator Rise of the Machines”.

This may even be a possible means of curtailing Digital Music and Video Piracy of Blu-Ray discs or even downloaded material to IPTV devices as suggested in my blog article entitled “3-D anti-piracy technology to thwart Digital Video Piracy”.

More reason to stock up on bullets and guns, at least for the paranoid among us, as machines can, were AI to become real, organize themselves autonomously and take over humanity.

To be fair, I have not the heart to fight with neither my blender nor my fridge, as I treat them fairly well, so I am skeptical that they would ever rise up and harm me. Still, I am making a note to myself to power them down in this soon to come future, now on our doorstep in 2011. 

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