29 May M2M: An emerging technology snapshot by InfoTech Consulting Services
What is it?
M2M is the term used to describe the automated exchange of information between machines, appliances and devices using wireless technologies and the Internet without the assistance of humans. This is done using sensors attached to any machine that relay information on events the machine experiences allowing for a central application to analyze the data and take appropriate decisions in real time. M2M is a key component of the coming Internet of Things revolution.
Why is this trend happening?
Even though M2M has been around in verticals like Utilities, Supply chain and heavy manufacturing for decades it is only recently that a combination of bandwidth coverage, speed and capacity combined with cost of sensors at dramatically low levels has CIO’s around the world looking at M2M as a revolutionary emerging technology. Now every day “things” that surround us which we use daily can be connected, the data they transmit studied, allowing for new operational efficiencies and revenue generating opportunities to be unleashed.
What are the benefits?
First of all there are the business benefits. Sensors programmed to act based on set business parameters change the game. The owner of multiple bakeries who can lose a day’s profitability if he gets a bad batch can now use automated temperature and compliance readings and make perfect batches of his goods in multiple locations without being there. Medicine can be dispended to patients and how the respond noted in real time and assistance called in if necessary. Goods can be tracked real time. Machines can proactively tell you when they will fail allowing for losses form production failures to drastically go down. Climates needed for growing plants or creating a creative work environment for an advertising agency via humidity, lightning and temperature control are now possible with no human intervention.
With M2M intervention by humans only happens when it’s needed allowing for clear ROI over how currently things are done in multiple scenarios in multiple verticals. Also sensors work round the clock not only 9 to 5 allowing for productivity to spike.
What are the challenges?
If censors are set to collect and transmit information in real time pervasively there can be some serious power and bandwidth costs associated with the solution. There are environmental challenges associated as well. Environmental degradation through wear and tear, temperature extremes, humidity, and rust need to be accounted for.
As with any emerging technology not all sensors talk to other sensors. Standards and interoperability is often cited as the biggest deterrent to widespread adoption of M2M.
A future with pervasive always on technology connecting billions of devices to each other and the internet means there are that many more access points for hackers to attack. Security advancements must keep pace with the same speed and innovation that M2M itself embodies.