Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications is a transformative technology with the power to fundamentally alter industries and the way we do business. But while many organisations are already adopting M2M solutions to enable new revenue opportunities and enhance profitability, many are yet to see a way to begin the transformation.
M2M devices today are much smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient as well as more sensitive and accurate. Cloud-based applications are available to enable organisations to easily and cost effectively implement and manage M2M deployments of the necessary scale and complexity.
Most importantly, public wireless networks are becoming ubiquitous, providing the means by which communications can be rapid, secure and cost-effective anywhere in the globe.
According to The Global Wireless M2M Market report published by analyst firm Berg Insight in April 2012, the number of mobile network connections used for wireless M2M communication increased by 37 per cent in 2011 to reach 108 million. Asia-Pacific was identified as the strongest regional market with year-on-year growth of 64 per cent and 34.5 million connections by year-end.
With mobile communications now an integral part of the modern enterprise, executives are increasingly willing to explore M2M solutions as a way to gain competitive advantage.
M2M solutions are used by shippers to track containers and high-value or temperature-sensitive cargo; by car and equipment rental companies to locate, monitor and remotely lock or unlock vehicles; by utilities in smart meters and to monitor the electricity grid and isolate problems; by architects to create efficient smart buildings; by retailers to track and restock inventory; and by service providers to plan routing of client site calls.
Healthcare is another area of great potential with M2M platforms being developed to support chronic disease management, general wellness, and to help the elderly who continue to live in their own homes. The critical backbone elements of the system, the wireless network, cloud and security are global and robust. There has never been a better time to explore the possibilities and gain a lasting competitive position in your industry.
(The author is Executive Director, Product Marketing, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions)