Machine to Machine (M2M) technology is revolutionizing the way people live and the way businesses operate. From mobile devices that let individuals and/or doctors monitor a person’s health to applications that track inventory levels in vending machines and reveal when supplies are low, the impact of “smart” machines cannot be overstated. With M2M solutions, businesses are able to use the data gathered and transmitted to back office systems to make informed decisions using near real time information.
And we’re just getting started. Experts differ on exact numbers, but no one denies we will see exponential growth in M2M in the next few years.(1)
If there is something that will delay this promise of ubiquitous connected solutions, it’s that building and implementing M2M solutions can be complex, time consuming and costly. Developing solutions involves hardware, software and often the cooperation of several different companies –each bringing a different mix of technology and industry knowledge to the table. At a minimum, businesses require a reliable and secure wireless network; an application services platform that will gather, analyze and visualize the data; and a secure and scalable cloud service that can store the application along with the proliferation of data being generated.
According to a recent report by The Economist Intelligent Unit (2), for M2M to really take off it needs to be easier for companies to identify and implement solutions – and develop their own innovative solutions based on a foundation of standardized technologies. Verizon’s M2M Application Development Environment program (M.A.D.E.) was created to address this need. This program makes it easier for companies to identify M2M solutions that will benefit their businesses and shortens the development time – going from concept to value quickly.
Verizon worked with strategic providers to create more than 20 M2M application templates, providing the foundation for M2M solutions in industries like healthcare, energy, transportation and others. The complex design and roll out associated with M2M solutions – including identifying hardware, network and software components (often from different vendors) – has been simplified with the help of six companies (Tech Mahindra, ThingWorx, ILS Technology, VI Agents, New Boundary Technologies and Candi Controls). The applications these providers developed can be easily customized and deployed in a variety of different industries. Consider these three examples:
- Farm to Fork Monitoring. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 76 million cases of food borne diseases annually result in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need to collaborate with growers, distributors, carriers and grocers to effectively manage the supply chain. With the Farm to Fork solution, businesses gain insight into en-route environmental conditions and can take corrective action. The integrated M2M solution provides the sensors, wireless technology and analytics to determine temperature, humidity level, etc. to provide a quality product. No matter what type of perishable item - meat, produce, ice products, beverages or even medicines – businesses can remotely monitor containers or pallets to meet safety and regulatory standards, while controlling costs.
- Smart Building Monitoring. Energy conscience businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs and decrease their carbon footprint by evolving to a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) compliant business and participating in “demand response” with utility companies. The Smart Building Monitoring solution helps businesses generate energy savings and reduce carbon emissions by providing an application and analytics to monitor and control HVAC, water heaters, thermostats, lights, electrical energy usage in a building or campus environment. Through a centralized portal, consumption patterns are analyzed based on weather, occupancy and other building parameters, enabling the business to optimize energy consumption.
- Medical Lab Equipment Monitoring. Medical facilities are committed to providing the highest quality, reliable patient care. But quite alarmingly, medical device failure contributes to preventable deaths. Through the Medical Lab Equipment Monitoring solution, healthcare organizations can centrally monitor the condition of expensive equipment, 24/7, and be notified through their smartphone when an MRI machine, for example, needs maintenance. This solution incorporates hardware, software and the wireless connection. It includes the analytics application to measure and analyze data showing the condition of each piece of medical equipment. Alternatively, medical facilities can proactively review online metrics that indicate when equipment requires maintenance and avoid an emergency situation.
The M2M Application Development Environment program enables clients to visualize M2M data, avoid long and expensive lead times in developing applications and quickly realize the benefits and opportunities created by connected solutions. To learn more, tune into a webcast at Verizon’s Connected Technology Tour Virtual Conference and Expo, available on demand through December 31. To register, visit http://ctt.vzwtechnologies.com/event/virtual.
1-2 The Economist, Intelligence Unit - http://digitalresearch.eiu.com/m2m/infographic Rise of the Machines: Moving from Hype to Reality in the Burgeoning Market for M2M Communications, 2012