The Rein of M2M

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  May 17, 2013

The term M2M is fairly well understood. Machine-to-machine technology is generally any sort of grouping of devices where machines talk to machines.

When your car tells a central computer you need an oil change and the dealer calls to remind you – that’s M2M in action.

But M2M means different things to different people and organizations depending on their needs, so when we think of the opportunity for M2M, we can and should be thinking broadly.

M2M has a connection to digital signage; the emerging role of back-office systems in business success; energy management; facilities management; health care; smart buildings, both commercial and residential; mobile workforce management; point-of-sale and vending; safety and security; social machines; and any kind of asset management – even when those assets are trees in the Amazon rainforest.

Indeed, M2M has been deployed in the Amazon rainforest in an effort to monitor trees so they are not removed illegally. Gemalto’s (News - Alert) Cinteron M2M technology is being used in Cargo Tracck for this application. By placing these tracking devices in the tree trunks, authorities are alerted when one reaches within 20 miles of a cellular network.

“The rainforest in Brazil is approximately the size of the United States, so it’s impossible to monitor each and every acre,” said Ramzi Abdine, general manager of Cinterion (News - Alert) M2M at Gemalto Latin America. “The Cargo Tracck solution offers a compelling example of the power of M2M technology in overcoming unique business challenges to extend the reach of traditional tracking and tracing methods.“

This is one of the reasons M2M is such a fascinating space for me, because it allows you to do things that you couldn’t dream of just a few years ago. Battery technology has improved tremendously in recent years but more importantly, wireless devices are smaller, smarter and can get by on less power. This enables a new generation of devices to go places previously unimaginable.

Speaking of exotic locations, I was in Barcelona earlier this year attending Mobile World Congress, where I met with Telenity (News - Alert). The company leveraged the event to announce m2mConnect, which handles connectivity management of m2m devices.

The idea here is to auto-provision, activate, monitor and diagnose M2M solutions in the lowest-cost way possible. As Dr. Gurol Akman (News - Alert), CTO and executive vice president of R&D, explained to me, M2M customers represent very low ARPU, so it’s to minimize support costs.

Telenity also offers a service called m2mEnable, which allows for the collaboration of market players such as those who provide sensors, devices, connectivity, transport of the information over the network, and of course the applications that make use of the data.

As I mentioned, M2M is a very rich technology applying to many markets. But, for now, Telenity is focusing on a few of them such as automotive, smart meters and health care.

To learn more about what’s possible with machine-to-machine technology, join us at the M2M Evolution Conference & Expo, Aug. 26-29 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It’s co-located with ITEXPO (News - Alert) Vegas 2013.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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