Machine-To-Machine – A New Catalyst for Another Big Change In IT?
Have you ever expected your plants to text you they need more water? Or your kid’s diapers to send an alert to your mobile phone that it’s time to get changed? It can all be absolutely real by making these objects intelligent. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is the technology that makes it all possible. M2M allows both wireless and wired systems to communicate with each other without manual intervention.
The business benefits of M2M
An interest in the “Internet of Things” phenomenon rapidly grows — the idea that almost everything can be connected to the internet and can provide feedbacks or control processes has captured the attention of CIOs across the globe. According to Telsyte’s Senior Analyst, Machine-to-Machine can in many cases be tied back to a hard ROI as well as help deliver stronger BI back to business, which can result in more customers, better cost saving, more efficient business processes, innovation and new revenue streams. “If a machine or device can report back that it has broken down or that it needs refilling, then that saves, for example, a field-force employee driving around checking on these things,” he says. “Because of the improved visibility, they only need to go where the attention is needed. That has a hard ROI for operations”. Another huge benefit of M2M is the ability to collect big data and feed it through a processing system for delivery of more detailed business information.
Therefore, more and more businesses focus on M2M technologies and communication – especially in automotive, transportation, logistics, energy, and healthcare areas.
For example, in transportation and logistics sector, M2M makes it possible for pallets and packages to communicate their location allowing for real-time parcel tracking. Or another case from healthcare sector: M2M devices worn by patients enable real-time monitoring of vital statistics or dispensing of medication.
So, if you’re looking for smart decisions on how to increase efficiency, cut costs and improve customer service – M2M is more than likely to be the No.1 solution in this case. On the other hand, if you consider M2M technologies more for your daily routine rather than for business purposes, you’ll also be able to enjoy lots of cool ways to make the most profit out of them.
Challenges of Machine-to-Machine
But nothing is perfect in this world, nor is M2M! King Yew Foong, Gartner’s Research VP, advises CIOs to be cautious of the lack of M2M providers able to act as end-to-end M2M partners because of strong market fragmentation. Telstra’s Director supports Foong’s viewpoint and says: “The market is fragmented. Absolutely. There are … very few standards, [and] you don’t have any 800-pound gorillas being a catalyst or using their size to drive the market.” Since M2M projects typically operate for 10 to 15 years, it is critical to choose the right decades-long partners! How to identify and find such vendors is yet to be found out by business IT decision makers.
Future of M2M
While CIOs will be looking for ways to identify the right and sustainable lifelong Machine-to-Machine partner, an extra nine billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2016, according to Cisco forecasts. And most of them will talk to one another rather than be used by people. These “machine-to-machine” devices will be in cars, microwaves, MRI scanners, and any other place where it would be helpful to get a frequently updated stream of data. Does it mean that the era of human-to-human will end earlier than we thought?
Sources: TechRepublic, 2013; ZDNet, 2013.