In 2007, having detected its heavy earthmoving equipment being smuggled into Mexico, a rental firm turned off its bulldozers’ engines from a remote location, before it reported the theft. This was possible because of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication—a technology that was still in its infancy at that time.
Since then, M2M communication is redefining manufacturing processes across different industry verticals. Nokia Siemens Networks has estimated that worldwide revenue from the total M2M market is expected to be in excess of $45 billion by 2013.
The transport and logistics sector was among the early adopters of M2M communication. This industry leverages this technology for fleet management, tracking of vehicles or high value assets, and supply chain management. As M2M communication processes and provides real-time data for smooth movement of traffic, goods, and people, it also helps the transport sector maximize asset utilization.
In the automotive sector, new regulatory norms for reducing emission will fuel advanced M2M solutions in upcoming vehicle models. A new set of EU regulations stipulates that by 2015, all new cars should installM2M technology to automatically notify the nearest emergency center during a crash.
In consumer electronics, M2M is already being used in e-readers, connected video gaming consoles, and connected televisions. Once new products, such as the Google watch and other connected gadgets enter the market, the entire segment will receive an additional shot in the arm.
According to Vodafone’s report on “The state of M2M in manufacturing and consumer electronics”, the sector holds out great potential in finding the next big M2M revenue opportunity. About 49% of respondents in this sector also said that the top motivator for M2M adoption was competitive advantage.
In fact, M2M communication solutions enable manufacturers across industries to integrate value-added services to their products, covering safety, warranty, security, and predictive maintenance, which ensure that they are not easily duplicated. In addition, the demand for mass production and scalability is driving the adoption of M2M solutions, with many industries moving towards remote monitoring.
In other sectors, energy and utilities companies are saving human effort and response time by monitoring crucial parameters, like the pressure and temperature of their equipment and machinery remotely. Likewise, navigation and entertainment services are also witnessing a sharp surge in the usage ofM2M devices.
In this scenario, it should come as no surprise that the number of mobile network connections used for wireless M2M communications will grow from 164.5 million connections in 2013 to 489.9 million connections in 2018, according to Swedish analyst firm, Berg Insight that focuses on research into the wireless M2M space. Looking into the future, global research firm Analysys Mason forecasts that the number of M2M device connections will hit 2.1 billion by 2021.
As organizations are increasingly utilizing cloud solutions to deploy M2M solutions, the devices have become much smaller, more affordable and energy efficient, while evolving to be highly accurate.
Do you think that M2M communications is the next big disruptive technology in manufacturing and other industries? Let us know your views below.