One of the most compelling aspects of M2M from both an economic and environmental perspective is its extremely broad range of applications, offering the potential to increase efficiency in a wide variety of sectors. Although M2M also has other useful applications, ranging from the remote monitoring of vending machines to the remote monitoring of vital signs, our research finds that it offers the largest opportunity for profitably reducing GHG emissions within four carbon-intensive sectors: energy, transportation, the Built environment, and agriculture.

Energy conservation and eco-friendliness has taken center stage in the world around, even as the energy resources are depleting day-by-day. Add to that the environmental concerns of global warming and increasing greenhouse gases, the problem seems ever increasing in nature. Nations and corporations across the globe have energy conservation high on their social and economic agendas. They are trying out various ways and means to conserve energy and produce clean energy. There are lots of constraints in conservation initiatives even in developed countries. One of the key technologies that is helping drive this conservation initiatives across the globe is adoption of smart metering concepts that are being powered by M2M technologies.

M2M technologies which combine sensors and applications that leverage the power of the available wireless (GSM/CDMA) networks to help machines communicate with each other are driving the evolution of smart metering concepts across the world. M2M technologies are not helping utilities become economically more viable but are also making consumers aware of conservation techniques that could help bring down their energy costs.

Adoption of smart metering technologies powered by M2M technologies not only provides them with almost real time data and information but also provides significant visibility into their energy auditing process, helping them account for almost every ounce of energy consumed. This not only helps monitor the usage patterns but also provides insight into terms of power usage and helps narrow down to problem areas, irrespective of technical issues or pilferage issues.

Another most widely discussed M2M technology within the energy sector is most often referred to as the ‘smart grid’. in actuality, ‘smart grid’ is an umbrella term for a variety of technologies, including smart meters and other ICT infrastructure that allows for time-of-day pricing, demand management, load balance, and load optimization. Together, these technologies comprise a connected system in which information can flow almost instantly from the utility company to the client and back again, allowing for various optimizing decisions to be made by both man and machine. Smart grids greatly increase the efficiency of energy generation, transmission, and use, reducing the resources consumed by the energy sector.

While smart grid technologies represent the largest potential for using M2M to reduce GHG emissions, their implementation is also one of the most infrastructure intensive of any of the opportunities Still, for many reasons the rollout of smart grids is proceeding steadily today, and the utilities industry now has the second highest number of M2M cellular connections and the third highest number of connected devices of any sector as per the study conducted by Hatton in 2012.

Smart grid, demand-response, and other M2M technologies can also help to facilitate and speed the adoption of renewable sources of energy generation—another key growth market in our transition to the low-carbon economy. Reliable sources of energy are crucial to the functioning of our economy and to maintaining a modern standard of living, and renewables offer a low-carbon alternative to the fossil fuel-based sources of energy we currently rely on.

Population growth and economic development mean that energy demand will grow significantly in the next decades, improving people’s lives while bringing new revenue to energy service providers. While this might be good for human development, unless incremental demand is met using primarily renewable energy, it will spell disaster for the climate and expose the world to resource shortages and price fluctuations.