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What is ?

M2M

Refers to data communications between machines. M2M is most commonly translated as Machine-to-Machine but has sometimes been translated as Man-to-Machine, Machine-to-Man, Machine-to-Mobile and Mobile-to-Machine. Among cellular telephone service providers, M2M means Mobile-to-Mobile, and is used to describe calls that do not involve land lines. Like all evolving technologies, its definition continues to evolve, but it generally refers to telemetry or telematics that is accomplished using networks, especially public wireless networks.

In recent years, the cost of access to public wireless data networks (CDMA, GPRS, Mobitex, 3g, etc.) has been dropping while the capabilities of these networks continues to increase. M2M generally refers to technology that leverages these networks to bring telemetry to a much wider audience. In addition, M2M sometimes refers to similar leveraging of the internet. In this case, the term is more or less equivalent to another term, Pervasive Internet.

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As the scope of M2M has evolved, other terms like Machine to Human (M2H) and Machine to Enterprise (M2E) are starting to emerge to segment the pervasive nature of the M2M term. The M2M device, software, network, and service market is expected to grow rapidly world wide between now and 2010. Some estimates suggest the 2010 world market may exceed $300B in annual revenue. Where as there are some half billion computers in the world and over one and a half billion cell phones & PDAs, it is estimated there are more than 38 billion other electronic devices that have information perhaps relevant to improving an enterprises operation. The M2M market strives to connect these devices to corporations, governments and institutions.

Examples

The key pieces of a typical M2M system include:

  1. A device or group of devices capable of replying to requests for data contained within those devices or capable of transmitting data contained within those devices autonomously.
  2. A communications link to connect the device or group of devices to a computer server or another device.
  3. A software agent, process, or interface by which the data can be analyzed, reported, and/or acted upon.
  4. Software Intelligence.

Most often, M2M systems are task-specific. Meaning, a given system is purpose-built for just one specific device, or a very restricted class of devices in an industry. This is one of the indicators of the M2M market still being in its infancy, as a unified intercommunication standard has yet to evolve. Functions are duplicated — each purpose-built system repeats many functions already implemented in similar systems.

Examples

Enterprise Infrastructure Management

  • Ability of the M2M solution to interoperate with existing management systems as well as the entire M2M value chain.

Data Center

  • Increase data center reliability by connecting all the IT and building automation system assets. Integrate them into a single universal data log. Leverage data log to evaluate trouble conditions that are interrelated between disparate subsystems.
  • Assure COBIT/ITIL compliance by tying data center operational process with the specific IT and non IT devices that are manage by the process. Validate that employees are meeting service level agreements by responding in a timely and effective manner.

Transportation

  • A system integrator may use M2M as part of a system to retrofit roadside signs with a means to remotely add federally mandated emergency alerts and Amber Alerts to multiple signs at the same time as an alternative to manually programming signs on-site.
  • A classic example of this is the OnStar system provided by General Motors. A onboard sensor will notify OnStar when there is a problem with the vehicle – e.g. an accident, a system failure. These systems are becoming common in most high end cars.
  • Supply chain – On board sensors in the cold chain (supply chain for frozen foods) can monitor the temperature of produce/frozen goods as it is being transported. The onboard M2M sensors send in the temperature data and notify the user when they go out of bound.

Fleet Management

  • M2M systems can be used to control embedded vehicle controllers wirelessly. For example, they could be used for monitoring the vehicle fleet conducting ground operations at an airport, giving the control tower advanced monitoring and GIS capabilities, including remote shut-down of vehicles in case of emergency.

EWI Unified Platforms

Due to the duplication of functions in many such M2M systems, EWI has started to unify and specialise for specific targeted sectors. We aim at reducing the duplication of functions across similar systems, through a simplification and thought leadership approach. We work according to M2M  open communication protocols and best practise standards.

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