|By Sam Ganga||
|August 12, 2014 02:00 PM EDT||
Science fiction films abound that warn of machines taking control and wreaking havoc on the human race. "2001: A Space Odyssey," "War Games" and "I, Robot" are just a few of the titles that propose what might happen if we hand too much power over to intelligent, interconnected machines.
Decades after the first cautionary tale, the world's machines are more intelligent and more interconnected than even science fiction authors could have predicted. Machine to Machine (M2M) communication and the mobile revolution have led to the phenomenon of Big Data, an influx of structured and unstructured data at volumes and velocities never before heard of. The insightful analysis of all that data is proving to be a blessing to humanity, not the threat that many feared. M2M and Big Data Analytics can help reduce costs and create competitive advantage for a wide variety of businesses.
What Is M2M?
M2M refers to systems and technologies that make it possible for networked devices to exchange information and perform actions on their own, without (or with minimal) human intervention. Gathering sensor data from devices, analyzing it and using it to exercise more intelligent control can drive better outcomes. Everyday examples include:
Smart meters, coupled with predictive analytics, enable utility companies to predict demand patterns, automatically adjust to meet peak demand and avoid over-production when demand is low.
Remote medical sensors can monitor patients, remind them if they've forgotten their medications and alert doctors when intervention might be needed.
Smart buildings have sensors that can analyze environmental data to save energy and improve safety.
Traffic data from networked sensors can be analyzed to predict shifts in traffic patterns. Using this information to control traffic signals can actually prevent traffic jams, not just ease them.
Automated systems like GM's OnStar can alert emergency services when accidents occur, even when the humans involved aren't able to help themselves.
How M2M Came to Be
M2M didn't arrive on the scene overnight; as with anything else, it followed an evolutionary process. Back in the 1980s, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems were introduced to enhance controls for electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and to improve monitoring and control for traffic and transportation systems. In the '90s, Wireless Sensor Networks were introduced to improve monitoring and control in many manufacturing and industrial systems. Wireless made it easier to monitor and control a broader range of devices but only supported limited, short-range connections.
When data modules were introduced in the mid-1990s and early 2000s that could communicate via cellular networks, a major leap forward occurred. These systems were used first to connect point of sale (POS) terminals, vehicle sensors and other remote monitoring and tracking systems, and then were further extended to automatic meter reading, security, elevator control, fleet management, vending and telemedicine.
M2M communication and applications have really exploded in diversity and number since the introduction of the Internet as a backbone for communication. Three major factors have combined to accelerate the recent growth in M2M:
- More data from more devices can be combined and analyzed more quickly due to advances in tools and technologies for big data analysis and predictive analytics. This enables machine-driven actions based on anticipated conditions - not just faster reaction times.
- The "everywhereness" of broadband networks, wireless and Internet has given rise to the Internet of Things (IoT) and has made it easier and cheaper than ever to connect devices. Assign an IP address to a device with Internet access and you can communicate with it anywhere in the world.
- Cheaper and smaller sensors, memory and processing power mean that more devices can be networked, and the devices themselves can be smarter.
M2M Now and in the Future
Gartner Inc. estimates that there are currently just under 30 billion connected devices and projects $309 billion in additional revenue for product and service suppliers by 2020 due to IoT. They also predict $1.9 trillion in total economic impact from improved productivity and cost savings, among other factors.
As an example of IoT's impact, Gartner turns its attention to data centers. The analyst firm predicts that IoT product and service suppliers will generate revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services, by 2020.
How M2M Is Being Applied
With virtually every industry impacted, M2M's technology solutions applications are startling in their breadth and diversity. Machina Research points to benefits as varied as reduced energy costs, improved safety and security, and increased efficiency and faster response times for emergency services and national defense. Here are some examples:
In terms of how far along companies in key verticals are in implementing M2M initiatives, another recent study by Techpro Research offers some insight. Energy, IT and automotive top the list in current implementations, or plans to implement in the next 12 months, followed by Healthcare, Facility Management, Manufacturing and Retail.
M2M Success in the Marketplace
If businesses do thoughtful planning around how to use M2M to achieve their goals, opportunities to boost revenues, cut costs and more effectively serve customers are tremendous. A few recent examples include:
Retail - Nestlé Nespresso SA has equipped its coffee machines used in restaurants, hotels, offices and luxury retail boutiques to transmit operational and performance data from each machine to a cloud platform for tracking and analysis. The system tracks descaling and other maintenance procedures and alerts technical staff if servicing is required. The applications can also be used to remotely adjust water temperature and pressure. The system helps ensure that machines are maintained in excellent condition, that they produce the highest-quality coffee, cup after cup, and that customers are well supplied with their coffee of choice.
Transportation - The automotive industry and the U.S. Federal Government are embracing M2M. The US Department of Transportation recently conducted research that suggests that Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technology could prevent the majority of crashes involving two or more vehicles. Sensors can monitor speed and location of nearby vehicles, analyze risks and either warn drivers (near term) or take action on their own (longer term) to avoid accidents. The research could lead to a mandate to use V2V in the future.
Healthcare - Partnering with the University Teaching Hospitals of Grenoble and Toulouse, France Telecom R&D launched a project called "Gluconet" for managing diabetic patients remotely. A special instrument is used to periodically read patient glycemia data. This information gets transmitted automatically to the management center via mobile devices. The doctors can access the information over the Internet. Based on the analysis, doctors send medical advice to patients via SMS or voice messaging. The key advantage here is that both patients and doctors are alerted of any complications well before they become life-threatening.
Consumer - Lexmark, a provider of printing and imaging products, software, solutions and services, deployed M2M for more effective customer servicing. Lexmark uses M2M to collect data from millions of printers. The company analyzes the data to streamline its products to serve customers better, increase revenues and reduce operational costs.
Facilities Management - Commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) deployed an M2M system called IntelliCommand to collect data from building systems for security and protection against heating, cooling or fire incidents. Information collected by remote sensors is transmitted to a cloud-hosted system for in-depth analysis. When sensors collect data that strays outside of established parameters, alarms are relayed to a control center to alert managers. JLL's pilot installation with four sites enabled clients to cut costs by 15-20 percent. The real estate giant is now extending its deployment to 76 buildings.
How to Begin the Process
M2M possibilities for some organizations are self-evident. An equipment manufacturer might see an opportunity to leverage machine data to provide better service and build loyalty. Another might see an opportunity to add value that can be monetized. Some companies might find themselves threatened by competitors who have already started using M2M to gain advantage. But it's not so cut and dried for some businesses. The "M2M Opportunity Matrix" shown here offers some structure that can be used to think about M2M and identify opportunities that can improve business performance.
Listed across the top of the Matrix are possible business objectives. This isn't an exhaustive list, but you could do a lot of good for your business by finding ways to reduce cost, increase revenue or add value.
Options related to data sources are listed down the left side. Your organization might already have a large database of information that's coming in from POS systems or manufacturing control systems or some other source - Data In-Hand. But maybe you haven't figured out what to do with the information yet. There might be additional data that you could be collecting from existing "sensors" - New Data from Existing Sources. Or there might be new data that you could access with new sensors, or by sourcing from outside your company - New Data from New Sources. Probably, the data you already have in hand is going to be the easiest to tap into to achieve business objectives. But some opportunities might be so valuable that it's worth deploying new sensors to gather new data.
There's a potential M2M opportunity at the juncture of each business objective and data source. So, do some brainstorming. Start the process by thinking of how to leverage different data sources to achieve various business objectives. It can go in a lot of directions from there.
Alternatively, an experienced data consultant can help you look objectively at your situation and help you to identify low-hanging fruit or the really game-changing opportunities that could deliver more transformative results. There are a lot of right answers. The best thing is to get started.
Making the Most of M2M
It turns out that, so far at least, all those cautionary tales about intelligent machines have proven untrue. In fact, interconnected machines and the data they generate are improving the ways we live and do business. Smarter systems that don't need to rely on slower human input and that can more quickly adapt as needed are the upshot of M2M. Even now we are seeing incredible innovations like remote glucose monitoring, more efficient printing and safer buildings. And that's only the beginning. At the risk of imitating sci fi writers who were a bit off-base, we hesitate to predict what other life-enhancing technologies powered by M2M are on the horizon.
You, meanwhile, should not hesitate to take part in the M2M revolution. If you wait for someone else to figure out how to best leverage M2M, you are likely to lose market share or lose the opportunity altogether. It may seem overwhelming to know where to start; if that's the case, work with a data consultant who can help create a plan. Don't let the intelligent machines outsmart you.
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Sep. 2, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 295
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Sep. 2, 2015 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 637
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Sep. 2, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,657
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Sep. 2, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 466
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Sep. 2, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 270
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
Sep. 2, 2015 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 394
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Sep. 2, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 216
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Sep. 2, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 357
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Sep. 2, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,583
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 2, 2015 04:00 PM EDT
The 3rd International WebRTC Summit, to be held Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 15th International Cloud Expo, 6th International Big Data Expo, 3rd International DevOps Summit and 2nd Internet of @ThingsExpo. WebRTC (Web-based Real-Time Communication) is an open source project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that aims to enable bro...
Sep. 2, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,565
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Sep. 2, 2015 02:15 PM EDT
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Sep. 2, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 271
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sep. 2, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 944
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 2, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 200
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Sep. 2, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 423
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Sep. 2, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,001
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Sep. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 195
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Sep. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 503
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Sep. 2, 2015 09:00 AM EDT