M2M to make machines communicate actively

Tags: Knowledge
In a connected world, we are slowly moving from human-to-human communication to human-machine interaction to now machine-to-machine communication (M2M). With developments in telecommunication and wireless technologies, your office lighting system, for instance, could be programmed to switch itself on/off based on whether your computer screen is active or in standby mode. When you walk out, you don’t have to remember to switch off lights and cooling/heating systems. While the technology is still nascent in India, it has enormous potential and wide applications in the country, say industry experts.

M2M refers to technologies in which machines would be connected through the internet and would actively communicate with each other, transmitting vital data to a central location. For example, in an office setup, an M-2-M remote terminal unit captures data points including temperature, humidity, lighting control and energy consumption by connecting to various sensors. The captured data is sent to a central server on a real-time basis for timely action without any manual intervention. With pre-programmed rules, machines would be able to control operations, which would otherwise require valuable human resources.

For example, WebNMS, a division of Zoho Corp, has launched the ATM Site Manager solution based on the M2M technology. Using the automated hardware and software combination, ATM operators would be able to bring down revenue loss and also improve profitability.

“ATMs are generally maintained by private operators who own about 1,000 of sites across the country. Most of them do not have control over ATM sites and operational costs are high,” says Prabhu Ramachandran, director of WebNMS. “Operators spend between Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 on energy bills per ATM room per month. Our solution would help cut down the cost by at least 40 per cent. The system can be automated to switch on/off ACs and lights at desired times. Moreover, ATM sites are down for at least three days every month due to operational reasons such low battery or internet connection failure. With our real-time monitoring these losses can be reduced as immediate action is possible.”

According to analyst firm Berg Insight, the global number of wireless M2M connections is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.2 per cent to reach $359.3 million in 2016. The Indian market is still nascent but expected to reach $98.38 million by 2016 with a CAGR of 33.81 per cent from 2011-2016 (according to 6Wresearch).

“The ‘internet of things’ has arrived and it will continue to grow to meet specific industry requirements. According to a Gartner report, in 2011, over 15 billion things (applications) on the web with more than 50 billion intermittent connections will grow to over 30 billion connected things, with over 200 billion intermittent connections in 2020,” says David Small, senior vice president and chief platform officer for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“M2M connections now cover much more than smart energy delivery and smart cars. For example, elaborate networks of sensors with direct machine-to-machine connections now underpin connected healthcare and the first consumer-ready wave of automotive telematics.”

Through these applications, in a healthcare setup, machines themselves would transmit vital organ function reports of patients and alert the concerned personnel for timely intervention.

According to Thejaswi Parameshwaran, program manager, ICT practice, Frost & Sullivan, South Asia and Middle East: “M2M services would grow at 41 per cent by 2017, which illustrates the momentum behind more workflow mobilisation and growing awareness in enterprises. The mobile e-mail market dominates the current landscape of enterprise mobility in India.

However, future growth engines are core business applications and M2M markets, which are experiencing significant traction. In the next few years, an important mega trend we expect is that IT Infrastructure would be around 80 per cent wireless on a single integrated platform. Thus, wireless intelligence will be the key factor that enterprises will use to enable faster decision-making in their business processes.”

shyamalaseetharaman@mydigitalfc.com

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