Realizing the Value Add of M2M
In today’s economy, the last thing a business needs is to lose track of assets due to theft or error. For consumers, too, the ability to keep tabs on what’s important to them can be priceless. As M2M (machine-to-machine) technology advances into more vertical markets, and further into the consumer consciousness, it’s becoming a little easier to add a layer of visibility and data onto an asset, a process, or a person that matters.
For some industries, such as construction, the adoption of connected devices and technologies was a slow uptick. However, this market is beginning to pick up steam due to the value add associated with tech adoption. Fleet-tracking and fleet-management solutions have been a common entry point to M2M for construction, among other industries. In fact, Berg Insight, www.berginsight.com, says installed fleet-tracking solutions among commercial vehicle fleets are on the rise, potentially reaching 8.7 million in the Americas by 2016.
Companies such as Securus Inc., www.securusgps.com, are poised to take advantage of the surge in GPS-enabled tracking solutions for both enterprise and consumer markets by offering products such as eZoom GPS, a tracking device that can be mounted on vehicles—whether the vehicle is a cement truck or a family minivan.
According to Chris Newton, president and CEO of Securus, the company first entered the consumer tracking market in mid-2008 with a solution to track pets. Since then, it has worked to build a comprehensive M2M platform that mines safety and security data from hardware and delivers it to the end user in a usable fashion.
Another company, EasyTracGPS, www.easytracgps.com, offers GPS tracking and fleet-management solutions for businesses of all sizes, in addition to consumers looking for personal tracking solutions. The company recently announced it will expand its enterprise product portfolio by partnering with DeWalt, www.dewalt.com, to offer a solution called MobileLock.
MobileLock uses GPS technology to track equipment, therefore deterring theft and maximizing the potential for recovery if stolen. The device was designed for use in industries such as construction, law enforcement, industrial, and cargo transport. MobileLock features four built-in sensors for vibration, door contact, temperature, and tampering, with an add-on motion sensor also available. The device features alarm sirens, and it can send alert notifications to an owner or operator’s mobile device.
The construction industry in particular has employed other types of M2M technology to provide visibility into workflow. One company, ADR Software, www.softwareadr.com, offers a connected solution called Workforce Monitor, which uses RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology to monitor workforce activity on construction jobsites.
The solution relies on passive-RFID stickers with unique serial numbers that can be attached to hard harts and crew members’ ID badges. The general contractor then sets up access points, or “portals,” throughout a jobsite capable of reading the RFID stickers as employees pass through them and reporting this data back to the company.
Like fleet and GPS tracking, this type of solution provides visibility where there was very little before. Even more importantly, these connected solutions provide data in realtime, which can enable more informed decisionmaking on the part of enterprises and peace of mind for consumers who want to remotely monitor a person, place, or thing.
Whether you’re working in healthcare, utilities, construction, or just interested in monitoring your home while on vacation, realtime information is critical. M2M technology solutions that can provide insight from afar is a true value add, and more businesses and consumers are realizing this fact every day.