Machine to Machine or M2M is catching the attention of businesses across the globe. Analyst Mason, in a study, predicts that M2M device connections will rise to 2.1 billion by 2021. A Vodafone survey reveals that 78% of respondents were of the opinion that M2M will be at the heart of successful businesses in the future. The study further highlights that 55% of participants rank M2M as a key priority for their organizations while 9% consider it as their number one priority.
Various research insights clearly show that M2M is evolving and is set to drive the next big thing in business.
What is M2M?
Simply put, Machine to Machine or Machine to Mobile (M2M) technology connects various machines like cars, appliances, computers with mobile or other fixed assets over networks and facilitates real-time data exchange to monitor and control either of these machines or their surrounding environment.
Drivers behind M2M
There are many motivations behind organizations embracing M2M including new revenue streams, cost savings, competitive advantage, process and productivity improvements, operational efficiency and speedy decision making capabilities etc. In short, the potential of M2M technology to encompass every function and its quantifiable business impact is making enterprises seriously consider M2M and put it at the core of their business.
M2M applications in business
From healthcare, manufacturing to retail; industries across the spectrum are using M2M.
- Healthcare: M2M applications have broken the barriers of distance by remotely connecting healthcare providers and patients. Remote monitoring solutions are allowing physicians to monitor their patients anytime, anywhere; seek critical data and capture images for condition management and home care. M2M healthcare solutions have not only improved quality of patient care but are also reducing costs.
- Retail: Retailers are using M2M enabled automated inventory tracking system wherein the legacy inventory management system is communicating with billing systems, mobile devices, RFID and sensors in the stores to report the consumption rates of products in the stores. The reports are then accessed by store managers and other relevant people on their mobile devices facilitating accurate inventory positions and store replenishments. From Kiosks, parking management to remote surveillance, M2M solutions are playing a big role in retail industry.
- Automobile: The automotive industry has been one of the early adopters of M2M solutions. From connecting infotainment systems, the dashboard with drivers mobile device to enrich superior driving experience to its use in vehicle diagnostics, accident prevention and telematics; M2M is speedily evolving in the industry.
- Consumer Electronics: All kinds of consumer appliances are communicating with other connected devices using M2M solutions. From smart refrigerators, ovens to remotely controllable equipments; the opportunities for M2M in the industry are just limitless.
- Energy & Utilities: M2M applications can also be found in power, oil and gas industry. Smart grid is being used to gain control over electric transmission and distribution networks while M2M supported metering solutions are helping companies to provide improved customer services. In the Oil and Gas industry, sensors and other connected machines are bringing accuracy and agility in exploration work.
Other sectors like industrial automation and monitoring, transport and logistics and utilities too are leveraging M2M technology to become more agile, responsive and innovative, and to outsmart the competition.
One of the major hurdles behind M2M adoption is the high costs associated with it. But as the technology evolves and the costs associated with it falls, we will see M2M play a wider role in business and personal space. Similarly, as results of adopting machine-to-machine technology becomes more visible and clearer in the future, we will see the technology gain higher traction. The surge in consumer demand will also push M2M in mainstream further driving the adoption by businesses. With Strategy Analytics predicting the global M2M communications market to reach close to $30 Billion by 2014, M2M is set to grow big in the future.