The Wikipedia defines Internet of things as 'referring to uniquely identifiable objects (things) and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure'. The idea started gaining more significance when objects in the supply chains of manufacturers and retailers, defense equipment and high value objects were tagged with identification technologies such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips which transmit / receive RF signals containing information on tags, This in turn, could be digitized for information processing.
The other popular identification and tracking technologies used in the industry includes Optical imaging and Satellite based identification and tracking. However, the biggest acceleration to the idea of connected and communicating 'things' is the rapid and increasingly business significant mobile or cellular based M2M (Machine to Machine) technology communication.
Cellular based M2M technologies have become one of most interesting areas in innovation of late largely due to the proliferation of networks with increased capacity like 2G, 3G and 4G. With increasing focus on data based services, M2M over cellular network becomes an attractive proposition for Telcos, technology product vendors, IT systems integrators and consumers alike due to ever falling cost of the network as a result of ever increasing volumes and the huge potential of business enabled applications on top of this data. Learn more about M2M technologies in our white paper, 'The Prospects Of M2M'.
M2M technologies have the potential to revolutionize production and manufacturing, retailing and end user experience. For manufacturing companies worldwide, the focus on improved productivity of assets and product innovations has and will be the key driver of adoption of M2M technologies. The integration of supply and distribution chains together with track and trace of products and the focus on 'after-sales service revenue' will accelerate the drive towards a Service Oriented Manufacturing driven by technologies such as M2M and Cloud.
The revenue models of Capital Goods manufacturers are already accelerating towards a Service Oriented business model. Technologies like M2M, Cloud Computing and Big Data analytics will increasingly play an important role in accelerating the trend.
The trend is even more profound in the automotive industry with rapid proliferation of M2M solutions in areas like Vehicle Telematics, Fleet Management, Self-Subscribed value added services in vehicles such as cars like remote assistance and value added services. For process manufacturing companies, capturing machine data for improved productivity and efficiency analysis through M2M and Big Data Analytics offer a huge opportunity for productivity savings as well. The concept of connected devices is already very popular in the home entertainment segment, and products and services from these manufacturers will be offered on connected platforms driven by M2M technologies.