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Seamless Transport and the Internet of Things

OECD report now available

In the coming years the Internet will move from connecting people to connecting things. In a new report entitled “Machine to Machine (M2M) communication: Connecting billions of devices”, the OECD analyses the impact of this phenomenon.


In his interesting and thought-provoking blog post in January, Rudolf Van der Berg of the OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry Directorate, author of the above-referenced report, highlighted some key points, including the issues of privacy and security in a world where government policy inadvertantly ensures that people's movements are tracked.  He touches on the fact that legislation requires liberalisation in order for full benefits (societal, economic etc) to be realised.

Short summary available

There is a short summary paper available which outlines in 2 pages what the full 44 page document covers in more detail.  This includes a paragraph summing up the effect of what the reforms suggested might have on transport, as quoted below.

Summary of the paper, as given by the International Transport Forum:

The report

  • finds new sources of growth 
  • identifies significant barriers to the functioning of the market
  • proposes liberalisation to further open the mobile telecom market, to enable new entrants that may be transport, energy and healthcare companies, not telecom providers
  • argues to support trade and travel for manufacturers and service providers in providing these services across borders,
  • argues that removing barriers will result in billions in direct and indirect savings on mobile connectivity, and
  • additional billions in new revenue from new services.

For the transport sector the reforms raised for discussion by the OECD could be considerable. In 2014 the European Union will require all vehicles to have eCall on board. This will be the start of M2M communication being standard on board. If the OECD’s proposal saved USD 1 in connectivity per car per year, the benefits would grow to USD 270 million/year in direct benefits. The indirect benefits through better and more advanced services enabled by higher bandwidth and better data packages could be a multiple of this change. It would become easier to equip roads with communicating elements and guarantee coverage. The effect may be a more efficient transport system. Competition will make it easier to enter the market, to scale-up the use of services and to experiment with new services and not experience punitive roaming costs. It shows that telecom liberalisation can be an essential element of a sound transport policy. 

Transport Summit

The International Transport Forum is running their 2012 Summit, entitled "Seamless Transport: Making Connections", with a very comprehensive 3 day programme in Leipzig from the 2-4 May 2012.  Full details can be found on their website.


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