Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology has been around for years. Industries like oil and gas, transportation and logistics management rely on it to keep us safe. Medical device manufactures use it to keep us healthy. You and I use it to get to work every day as a distributed network of hundreds of sensors relay vital information to the dashboards of the cars we drive. If the current trends continue, we’ll all be using M2M more and more in the future.
Two key trends are driving the widespread adoption of M2M; the cost of sensors has dropped to the point that it’s commercially viable to put them everywhere (think light bulbs) and the ubiquity of low-cost wireless networks has made communication with this Internet of Things (IoT) technically feasible. Forward looking businesses stand to benefit tremendously from this technology and SAP, mobile network operators and an expanding ecosystem of partners are here to help them do so.
The opportunity is boundless. Enterprises can deploy M2M technology now to reduce the cost of field service management through remote maintenance, they can optimize fleet scheduling with real-time location and traffic data and they can tap into new business models such as usage-based (or pay-as-you) go billing. The value of the data from connecting the Internet of Things to the enterprise goes beyond a single department or workgroup. We see the benefits extending to machine operators responsible for the uptime of mission-critical assets, the finance department responsible for calculating the return-on-investment (ROI) of their purchases and the procurement team using M2M to evaluate the agility of their suppliers.
So how do enterprises take advantage of all these possibilities? A lot of pieces need to come together to make M2M solutions feasible. For an enterprise to get maximum value from M2M, the ecosystem needs to come together to package their value-added services into an application that is simple-to-use and seamlessly integrates all the components in the background. To do so requires a platform that makes the solution rapid-to-implement, simpler to deploy and easier to consume, and cost effective enough to deliver the intended value. An M2M solution must not only be able to connect to and capture from the sources of data, but analyze and take intelligent action on the data in real-time. This means converting the data into meaningful information and integrating the data with enterprise business systems to optimize existing business processes.
What’s required to get started? The building blocks for an effective M2M solution that can be deployed at an enterprise or consumed as a cloud service include:
- Connected end points (sensors, devices, machines) for transmitting and consuming data
- A device connectivity platform such as Ericsson’s Device Connectivity Platform (EDCP) enabling machines to communicate over cellular networks
- A mobile network operator providing the backbone and value added services making wireless connectivity possible
- A device management platform to provide the infrastructure, agents and tools required to securely connect and control the end points
- A data management platform such as SAP HANA that provides the big data infrastructure to handle large volumes of data that are rapidly streamed from the end points and allows intelligent decision making through the use of analytics
- Industry specific applications such as smart services for connected cars. While the applications themselves are stars in their own right, it’s their analytical capabilities that are critical to drive true business value for a company. What’s the point of collecting data if you can’t use the information to help gain competitive advantage and be a better run business?
We know there is a massive opportunity, but is M2M ready for prime time? I say it is! By deploying the right end to end solution that includes these building blocks, you can make your enterprise smarter and more successful.
Stay tuned for more good news about M2M coming from the Mobile World Congress!
You might also like:
The Massive M2M Business Opportunity (Part 1) by Sanjay Poonen
The Massive M2M Business Opportunity (Part 2) by Jens Amail