The winter holidays are brought to us by more than just Santa and his sleigh. Todays holidays are enabled by machine-to-machine communications. From the food on our table to the gifts under the tree, M2M communications are making our holidays warm and bright.
Holiday meals bring to mind red and green sugar cookies, cranberry glazed turkey and moms amazing cherry pie. However, not many people think about all the ingredients that go into a family meal. Farms all over America are preparing for holiday feasting months in advance, and much of the activity from farm to table is leveraging M2M technology for productivity enhancements. For example, connected farm equipment can cut the number of planting days by 50%, smart planting software increases yields per acre, and tractor telematics is increasing the efficiency of harvesting. Irrigation systems are monitored remotely to ensure the most efficient watering possible of crops. Fertilizer levels are tracked to make sure they are available when needed. The trucks that bring the food from the farm to the store are connected to reduce the number of miles driven and ensure food is delivered fresh. If you think about it, at nearly every phase of production, M2M is involved in making our holiday dinner fresher, more bountiful, and greener.
Putting gifts under the tree brings the warm spirit of giving. The holiday gift-giving season drives more shopping than any other time of the year. In fact, the holiday season can represent anywhere between 2040% of annual sales. In 2011 alone, Americans totaled $563 billion in holiday spending. Behind the scenes of the long checkout lines, credit card swipes, and all of that holiday spending are wireless machines. Last year, there were 10.3 million connected payment systems and point of sale devices used is the retail industry worldwide. These range from wireless payment systems to point of sale displays and kiosks. In addition, innovative merchants like Apple are changing the game, using wireless connectivity for store attendants to process a sale anywhere in the store.
All these scrambling shoppers buying gifts for their long-distance loved ones bring in the most business for shipping companies during this time of year. UPS alone is expecting to deliver 25.9 million packages on its busiest day of the year December 20th. This means hundreds of fleet trucks using up tons of fuel on the road. However, with M2M technology deployed in fleet trucks, they can reduce their operating costs and increase efficiency. In 2010, UPS was able to reduce total driving distance by 9.13 million miles with fleet telematics. More importantly, fleet applications can also keep drivers safe when traveling through harsher weather. M2M devices allow drivers to map best route options to avoid roads with heavy traffic, see reports about the vitals of your truck, monitor appropriate driving speed, and more.
Shipping trucks and packages arent the only ones on the road 91.9 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles between December 23 and January 2, and about 91% of this long-distance travel is in their personal vehicle. With so much time spent in the car, M2M technology can now help alleviate the stress of traveling and being stuck on the road. Todays new cars are now connected and equipped with applications that provide automatic updates on gas mileage and vehicle diagnostics, as well as more detailed GPS mapping, Internet-streaming media services, voice-enabled commands, and rear-view cameras. This means more entertainment for your children and guaranteed safer travels.
Once you get off the road and into your house, M2M can help you reduce the stress from all that year-end party planning. With so many festivities going on during the holidays, the last thing you want to worry about is losing your electricity, especially during a time when energy consumption is expected to increase by 27%. Through the use of smart meters, M2M technology can help you reduce the dollar amount on your utility bills by providing you the visibility on cost. For example, upgrading to new LED lights can reduce your monthly energy bill by more than $50, and your smart meter can help you see that cost. Smart meters also help utility companies make sure your lights stay on this season.
And with all these celebrations going on, you dont want to forget to protect the valuables in your home with a security system. Homes without an electronic security system increase their risk of being a victim to burglary by 300% but with M2M, you can stay safe and warm in your home during the holidays.
There are many other ways that M2M is involved in the holidays. Aeris Communications has put together an infographic, Connected Holidays, that you can download and share.
Have a wonderful, safe holiday, everybody!