Modules, Platforms

What Is LwM2M? A Device Management Solution for Low-Power M2M

April 15, 2020

Lightweight M2M: Device Management for Low Power Devices

By the end of 2025, we can expect a staggering 75.4 billion devices to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), according to Statista. For business and commercial use, this means remote control (mostly mobile and cellular) and monitoring of supplies, assets, temperature, meter reading, logistics and business efficiency.

Conceptual circuit board shown with an overlay of software code.

Through the Lightweight Machine-to-Machine (LwM2M) protocol, industries can expect lower costs for low power module deployment and equipping devices with faster IoT solutions.

What Is the LwM2M Protocol?

Lightweight M2M is a communication protocol from the Open Mobile Alliance built to provide a link between a device equipped with an LwM2M agent and LwM2M-enabled servers.

Often used alongside CoAP (a protocol designed with constrained application devices in mind), LwM2M lets users perform tasks, run diagnostics and applications and engage device management on their remote IoT embedded devices.

According to Phillip Tracy with RCR Wireless News, LwM2M was implemented out of the necessity for a “low-cost remote management and service enablement mechanism” that works wirelessly and can be used across multiple industries where IoT is needed most.

Crucially, the combination of CoAP and LWM2M protocols allows comprehensive management of extremely low-power devices and enables wireless Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA) updates, keeping low-power IoT deployments effective and secure at scale. These capabilities give operators new insight into their system’s functionality, as well as the flexibility needed to maintain and improve it.

An essential requirement for most IoT uses cases is power efficiency, and LwM2M reduces the power consumption needed for device management. Additionally, LwM2M has been engineered to be efficient in its data consumption, recognizing that the average size of the data plan for IoT devices is limited. Lastly and most importantly, both power and data usage efficiency are delivered in a highly secure and reliable manner via this protocol.

LwM2M carries a small code footprint and can be integrated easily across many IoT device types. Companies that must track, send and receive information across a fleet of devices tend to use low-bandwidth, high-latency networks. Protocols like MQTT and JSON are not designed for these types of remote device management connections with markedly limited resources and capabilities. LwM2M, on the other hand, is comfortably capable of managing constrained devices like those found in a network of sensors and large-scale pervasive devices.

For example, if your business has 100,000 vending machines out in the field pushing out information, they may need constant updating for new items and SKUs — a task which uses up a lot of data. In the end, data translates to cost. LwM2M is a valuable service enablement asset that effectively saves money when talking to the machine itself through automation, instant updates, software configuration and more.

Modules like Telit’s ME910C1 feature LwM2M and are designed to offer optimized power consumption and enhanced coverage despite challenges with deep-indoor usage or geography. Regardless of the industry, LwM2M improves time-to-market and IoT device management.

Lightweight M2M: 5G Ready

Once 5G reaches critical mass, it will need an adequate means of managing IoT devices. The LwM2M standard, already broadly used by mobile networks and IoT service providers globally, is evolving to enable efficient control of devices in 5G networks. One of the main goals of LwM2M is to create a secure, reliable, flexible means of managing devices and services over any cellular technology. LwM2M enables solution providers to handle large quantities of devices and manage these devices efficiently, allowing businesses and industries to scale their solutions to satisfy the needs of nearly any application.

The endpoints of the massive IoT will be low-power, low-bandwidth devices and sensors, which will minimize power consumption, processing capabilities and use of the cellular radio link. Given the potentially enormous numbers of endpoint devices, manual configuration will be impractical at best. Therefore, devices will need to be wirelessly configurable and upgradeable.

Industries that Benefit from LwM2M Device Management

LwM2M can be used to benefit industries that rely on large-scale deployment of IoT devices needing remote management and high-security, low-cost, interoperable solutions.

Industries that rely on such deployments and IoT solutions include but are not limited to:

  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture and environmental services
  • Automotive and transport
  • Amusement park ride management
  • Electronics and embedded devices
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Mining
  • Retail
  • Security and surveillance
  • Telecommunications
  • Telematics
  • Smart homes and cities
  • Utilities and power grids
  • Furniture and home appliances
  • Food and beverage
  • Paper and pulp
  • Plastics and rubber
  • Oil and gas
  • Facility management

Most areas where these low-cost, low-power data transfer solutions can boost productivity are in software monitoring and maintenance.

Other areas of remote functionality and capabilities include smart lighting, data acquisition, production, logistics, quality assurance, inventory, facility climate control, meeting environmental health and safety requirements, emissions control, procurement and sourcing, product development, IT solutions, warehouse management, and even sales and marketing.

Expect Lightweight M2M to be a guiding force for the low power needs and standards across multiple global industries.

Telit, Your Device Management Leader for Low Power Devices

With two decades of IoT innovations, connecting people and their devices all over the world, look to Telit when coordinating your low-cost IoT communications module deployment needs. Telit’s IoT modules, connectivity solutions and platforms will help you transform your business into an accelerated digital workspace.

Telit offers enterprise-grade global support to help you manage your product certification effort anywhere in the world. We can leverage our global experience to assist you with CE, FCC, IC, PTCRB, GCF certifications and most mobile network approvals (e.g., carrier device approval).

Contact Telit today and ask about our LwM2M enabled ME910C1 IoT module designed to reduce complexity and cost with ultra-low power solutions in mind. Examples of use cases for our module include smart meters, industrial sensors, healthcare monitors, home automation, asset trackers and many more low-data-rate IoT devices.

Learn more about Telit's LTE-M and NB-IoT modules. Click here to download product brochures.

Editor’s Note: This post was first published on October 10, 2018, and has since been updated by Martino Turcato.