In depth: Machine-to-Machine in India

Reji Kumar
By Reji Kumar Pillai and Hem Thukral, ISG

The Government of India is keen to adopt Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and therefore released an M2M roadmap on 12 May, 2015 to foster large scale deployment. India is a strong advocate of IPv6 and compliance to IPv6 is mandatory in today’s scenario.

In addition, the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) released technical reports on M2M communications in sectors such as Power, Transport, Health, Safety & Surveillance and Gateway & Architecture the same day.

The Government is in the process of connecting 250,000 gram panchayats* on an optical fibre network for E-Governance, E-Learning, E-Health etc. In November 2014, two new schemes were launched, namely the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) which, apart from other objectives, envisage the extension of NOFN to 33KV and above substations for providing a backbone network for smart grid applications.

The first attempt to inject communications into the power sector was the implementation of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) by distribution companies (DISCOMs) and SCADA/EMS by transmission companies (TRANSCOs). Now, many DISCOMs are also in the process of commissioning SCADA/DMS and many have already done so.

Smart grid communications come under the purview of M2M communications wherein machines/devices/sensors communicate amongst themselves and also with the control centre/server for fulfilling the envisaged purpose.

How far we have come

After over a century of generating electricity centrally and building massive electric grids, the focus is now on decentralised generation and microgrids. This is causing the traditional boundaries between generation, transmission and distribution to disappear. Consumers are becoming ‘prosumers’ by generating electricity locally and having an option of feeding it back to the grid. Hence, there is already a debate on whether to invest in decentralised generation plus storage plus local distribution or centralised generation plus transmission plus distribution.

The traditional electricity networks that were designed for unidirectional flow of electricity, revenue and information are on the threshold of a paradigm shift which will enable bidirectional flow of these elements. Before the advent of smart grids, communication networks were used to….

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