Advancing Business with M2M

1/10/2013

M2M technology is changing the way businesses operate in a wide variety of vertical markets. Having access to realtime data from equipment and personnel can improve practices and speed decision-making. M2M also creates the opportunity for new revenue streams, offering enhanced service and maintenance programs for assets.

As more businesses look to take advantage of M2M’s benefits, there is a need for more information about how to implement an M2M solution. Vodafone, www.vodafone.com, is one company trying to make it easier to understand the M2M world, and it released a whitepaper devoted to the topic.

Vodafone believes M2M solutions will revolutionize many vertical markets, including automotive, transport, and logistics; smart metering and utilities; healthcare; manufacturing; retail; security and surveillance; consumer products; merchant services; and service businesses. The industries are being influenced by costs, regulation, and the advance of technology. In particular, regulatory pressures have driven the need for M2M solutions in industries like smart metering and automotive, especially in European nations. Initiatives such as ecall are driving the implementation of connected-car technology, and many countries have set targets for smart meter use within their borders.


In the service sector, Vodafone recounts how M2M can make preventative maintenance a reality. Assets, such as vending machines or printers, can be monitored using M2M technology. The device will sense a problem before it becomes a major issue, and the fault will automatically be communicated to a service center. By providing technicians with information about the fault, workers save time and money by having the correct supplies the first time they visit the site.

With all the blossoming interest in M2M, there are still challenges in the marketplace. Vodafone highlights a number of these issues, such as the length of M2M product cycles. M2M-enabled devices often have lifetimes of 10 years or more, the company says, and the building phase can take a year or more. The finished product needs to be easily upgradeable to incorporate new features as technology advances.

Security is also a concern for companies employing M2M. The transfer of large amounts of data for a variety of applications means that sometimes sensitive information may be transmitted. M2M solution providers need to make sure they are employing security solutions, such as encryption, secure password authentification, and firewall/antivirus products.

Because of the many considerations involved when selecting an M2M solution for a business, it’s important to carefully choose partners. Vodafone cites the fact many M2M projects are highly specific to a vertical industry, so it’s good to choose a partner with knowledge of the industry concerned. Additionally, if there are any standards specific to that industry, a partner with knowledge of the space will be able to advise on best practices.

As M2M becomes a more integrated part of many businesses, the need for information and services will only increase. It’s likely no vertical market will remain untouched by M2M’s progress.

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