Historically, M2M has been about connecting remote devices to backend solutions in the enterprise. The data collected generally in small amounts for each device has been used to provide sparse information to control and monitor the functioning of these devices. The increased ability to communicate with remote devices has fueled the development of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication over the last decade.
In the last few years another technology has gained just as much attention: Big Data analytics. Even thoug
h Big Data analytics in the strictest sense of the term - relates to the use of algorithms to analyze very large sets of data that typical database software are unable to capture and manage, the hype surrounding the topic has brought a tide of attention to the field of data analytics in general, sweeping the M2M industry along with it.
Indeed, data analytics is expanding the capabilities of M2M applications because it enables more data-driven, intelligent solutions. Rather than controlling and monitoring simple processes, these solutions can access rich collections and varieties of data to help automate and solve complex problems in the enterprise. It paves the way for advanced products like a new generation of fleet management systems capable of identifying in real-time trucks exhibiting dangerous behavior or of water meters capable of detecting and signaling water leaks as they occur. It also has the potential for immense cost reduction, revenue growth and even product innovation opportunities
Of course, data analytics programs require a lot of data in order to deliver provide intelligence to solutions. For a long time, relying on a large amount of data has come with so costly that it prevented the wide use of data analytics. Recent developments in the M2M industry, however, are making data analytics more economically viable and offer a better ROI for solutions:
Price decline of cellular connectivity it had been constant over the years but the price for connectivity irrespective of technology (e.g. CDMA or GSM) has now reached values that make the transport of MB of data truly affordable for a solution provider.
- Price decline in module similarly we have witnessed a significant decrease in the price of M2M modules.
- Broader adoption of alternative connectivity due to lower connectivity costs, more and more solutions now include cellular technology. Non-critical solutions in verticals as diverse as customer products, tracking, fleet management and automotive are now using technologies like Wi-Fi or short-range communication to connect to a gateway equipped with cellular connectivity (e.g. smartphones) or Ethernet (home router). Connectivity is eliminated from the Bill of Materials for the M2M solution.
- Increasing availability of cloud-based systems more traditional data warehouse solutions are costly and time-consuming. With the availability of managed data stores in the cloud, enterprises can launch M2M solutions requiring higher and more variable computational power and load that do not require an exorbitant investment.
These developments combined with the rise of (Big) data analytics are undoubtedly pushing a new wave of intelligent solutions to the shores of the M2M industry.
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