What is M2M?
M2M stands for machine-to-machine, mobile-to-machine, and machine-to-mobile Communications. It is about networking the machines and devices that pervade our everyday lives. M2M communications will connect and enable an array of equipment from mainframes to everyday products (e.g., home appliances, vehicles, buildings) in order to unleash new levels of smart services” and commerce. M2M has the potential to reshuffle entire industry structures and to create a windfall for technology enablers in the arena. M2M is about interactions that can take place between people and their products. A person can gain data and insight about the status of a device, health, its location, fluid or consumable levels, its temperature, productivity levels and maintenance history. Devices can also be connected to other devices to share content such as music, alerts, and supply chain information, making for a seamless and automated fl ow of data and services. M2M communications can exist in practically any environment and market. Currently, successful implementations exist for cell towers, oil and gas pipelines, jukeboxes, vending machines, vehicles, security systems, electric metering, game systems, home appliances, and more. These implementations are yielding significant results. As more devices become networked and enabled, M2M adoption will increase exponentially and have many unseen impacts on our daily lives.
How is the M2M Era Different from the PC Era?
The PC and Information Appliance eras have focused on making people more productive in the office and field. The technology has largely been built to support people interacting with other people. Much of the technology was focused on enabling powerful, high bandwidth, always-on computing and communications. The M2M era will be very different. M2M communications will be driven more by devices interacting with people and other devices. The technology solutions will require device-specific applications, with less bandwidth requirements than what PC users demand.
The M2M era will be more about the services and applications a device can deliver than about the complete features and functions a device may possess. For instance, consumers will be more interested in the services ,remote access, ongoing monitoring ,maintenance,etc.
This will create an environment where the nontechnical person will be able to use and interact with a device seamlessly, with little knowledge of technology and computing. M2M will cultivate an environment where content and services are delivered automatically and specifically to a user with little human intervention and manipulation.
Why is M2M Happening?
The communications infrastructure, particularly for wireless, has evolved significantly over the past couple of years. The popularity of the Internet and e-mail has caused many to invest in options that will provide anywhere, anytime connectivity. While most of these networks were built to connect phones, PDAs, and other information appliances, ordinary devices and machines will benefit from this available technology as well. Additionally, widespread coverage and faster transmission rates for existing wireless options, coupled with low installation costs, will further drive rapid growth of the number of devices able to connect to an available network.
M2M is also leading to significant opportunities for those involved. Companies can now service
devices like never before. With the ability to tap into a device’s data stream on an ongoing basis, companies are able to track and service a device throughout its entire lifecycle; from the assembly line to the recycling heap. This is leading to a redefinition of customer relationships and business operations. Companies can ensure better and more appropriate service to customers by anticipating and responding to problems as they arise (or even before). Companies are reducing their costs by upgrading software and features of their devices remotely, by sending out repair or re-supply personnel only when needed, and by automating the supply chain. And some of the most innovative companies have discovered new revenue generating opportunities by connecting to their devices. In all, M2M has the potential to unleash significant productivity gains and economic growth unlike any previous technology wave.