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The promise of Machine to Machine (M2M)

The number of global internet connected devices is growing exponentially. 

This includes mobile handsets and tablets; however the area of fastest growth is within the Machine to Machine (M2M) space. With the gradual phasing out of 2G networks globally, and the proven data capabilities and maturity of 4G technologies, now is the time for business to rethink their existing M2M strategies and investments.

Do you have old modems and telematics devices on a 2G network in your business?

M2M is rapidly being deployed in fields as diverse as agriculture, healthcare, automotive, retail, security and energy industries, with wireless endpoints on track to outnumber people. M2M devices include telemetry devices, telematics and connected smart devices.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is real now and growing. If you are not leveraging these capabilities to automate, streamline, measure and manage your business – you are falling behind your competition.

Most fields of life will be impacted in some way or another by hundreds of millions of embedded compute devices, that are interconnected and sharing data – bringing with it the next wave of productivity and performance possible.

M2M is the core enabler of these connected systems and the underpinning data network is GSM 4G / LTE. It holds the promise of bringing in real time data from remote devices and systems into your business network. Efficiencies in terms of manufacturing, resource use can now be fine-tuned, in real time, to streamline and to operate at the highest efficiency possible. Pre-set thresholds may be used to drive real-time alerts, for instance, when elements in a process start to deviate from the norm – allowing the earliest possible automatic or manual interventions. Error codes that hint at possible future failures may be used to plan preventative maintenance, making downtime avoidance a real possibility. This can go further, by example – to take concepts like Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing to the next level – when integrated with systems such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), machines could even self-order anything from raw materials when needed to booking in preventative maintenance, based on the number of cycles completed or recurring low level non-critical error codes within a certain time frame.

Travel to remote sites may be reduced; technician site visits reduced to the minimum, downtime minimised, routes better planned - literally giving Business back that most precious commodity: Time. To ensure that you can focus on your core business – it would make sense to look for a fleet manager for your M2M fleet. Specialist providers exist that can source and manage data plans, data SIMs and even M2M device sourcing on your behalf. In addition they should be able to take care of aspects such as SIM installation and activation, as well as value added logistics such as device staging, DOA management, asset tracking and device distribution. At the same time you would want that vendor to act as an accessible helpdesk – to centrally manage ongoing adds, moves and changes to the contracts, devices and fleet asset data base.

Specific branded M2M devices typically come with dedicated applications and web consoles that are optimised for that specific device and type – which interpret data received into sensible actionable information or gives your staff remote access to push data, setting and instructions to selected devices (and connected machinery). At the same time, there are numerous off-the-shelf mobile and desktop applications that can integrate data feeds to deliver immediate real time business value – for instance apps with geo-fencing capabilities (when connected to a GPS enabled M2M device) or route optimisation algorithms.

Deeper insight and business intelligence (BI) becomes possible if the vast amounts of data generated by M2M devices in your fleet can be analysed. If you have previously invested in a “Big Data” analytics solution, M2M is a perfect complimentary data source that can be integrated via APIs into these investment to provide unique and previously hidden insights – adding even more value to M2M and your Big Data analytics platform.

The promise of M2M as an IoT enabler is real cost and time savings, and opening up opportunities for your IT teams to take on a new level of partnership and enablement within business.

I urge you to think about how your business can benefit from M2M technologies. Visualise the next 5 to 10 years and see how embedding remote sensors into your business can help you achieve great things.

M2M is real and real-time. M2M is here. Are you ready?

Ulrich Wilsenach is ICT Product Manager at Vita Enterprise Solutions. Get in touch with him here, or contact our specialists on 1300 139 310

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