Both are driving efficiencies in our daily lives using the one thing we as the channel know very well. Connectivity. In my view, M2M (machine 2 machine) is a simple acronym for saying that this is a moving piece of data or connectivity. The same way we view the capabilities of Ethernet, FTTC or ADSL is the way we should view M2M opportunities. Except for two very exciting things, the applications don’t need to be in a fixed location and we can deploy within 2 working days.
The connected car has been with us for some years now in various guises. However, the driving force for real-time information and optimizing is causing further growth. We have applications like fleet management that not only show efficient driving and improved fuel efficiency, but can also improve your insurance rates and accurately pre-book your services so as to avoid high and unexpected repair to your vehicles. The more exciting applications involve things like creating a secure wide area network within your fleet for sensitive cargo. We will be able to connect a CCTV system to your dashboard or rear window and easily settle any accident related disputes. On a wider and more consumer-focused note, imagine the benefits there could be for the disabled driving community if their destination knew they were arriving and prepared for their arrival?
SMART agriculture is very quickly becoming an exceptionally powerful way to drive efficient use of natural resources across both developed and the less developed worlds. There is a company in the Netherlands that is using this technology today. Their story involves sensors within the ground that are in turn connected to the irrigation system and the farmer’s mobile device. The soil now has a “voice” and can tell the irrigation system when to water as opposed to just water because you have been doing so traditionally. Even further, is that the type of crop, say tomato or carrot, can be associated with that data and you can tell the irrigation system what level of acidity or alkaline to make the water. Imagine the efficiencies driven in water consumption and the improved quality in the crop yield.
M2M and IoT is not just about connecting your toaster to your fridge or using minute bits of data per month. The opportunities within the M2M or mobile connected market are very real and have interesting applications ready to be delivered today. Most importantly, the channel has access to these opportunities within their existing base and can drive tangible margins across the board.