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What do M2M and IoT have to do with you and / or your company?

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016

Internet of things: M2M Signal Boosters

Consider this, "what-if" scenario: Advancement of automated electronics and robots is one that is highly covered in the media. Whether you’re reading books about the dangers of robots who can think for themselves, watching movies about our entire network failing due to a natural catastrophe, or reading reports about how quickly our wireless technology is advancing, the internet, smart devices, wireless signal, and self-automated machinery seems to always be a topic at hand. Despite the fears that science fiction movies instill in us, the idea of the entire system going down is a jaw dropping and panic inducing thought. IoT stands for "Internet of Things" and M2M stands for "Machine to Machine". These are poised to proliferate worldwide like no other industry in the history of mankind.

When Live Free or Die Hard covered the topic, they were looking at an attack on the entire country’s network: From internet, to phone service, to electronics. But even on a small scale, the idea of our wireless signal failing us is terrifying. No internet. No phone service. No way to communicate with someone without: A) Driving to their location, which will work only if it is such old model that uses no electronics in it. B) Sending a letter via the postal service and waiting for a response.

Could you handle it?

Personally, I get mad when Netflix refuses to load due to poor signal. When we pay so much for our cell phones and other wireless streaming devices, it is easy to get frustrated when they don’t work 100% of the time or at the speed we want them to move.

While it is easy to consider the personal implications of losing your cell phone reception or WiFi connection, the growing demand for flawless signal goes further than personal entertainment and connecting distant relationships. There are many people who would legitimately suffer if the wireless signal were to fail us, for even an hour.

In addition to the safety that cell phones and other smart devices provide when it comes to being able to dial 9-1-1 from the side of the road when there’s an accident or being able to access Google Maps to quickly leave the scary part of town, there are many machines that rely on M2M (Machine to Machine) communication via wireless networks to help businesses and emergency response teams function.

What might happen in a manufacturing plant or even a hospital if they weren’t able to get the wireless signal necessary for their equipment to function properly? Take a moment to consider how it might affect your business (and not just your personal life).

Those Who Rely on Wireless Signals

It is common knowledge that we rely on wireless signals for a multitude of things. Besides our phone and internet, we can control our thermostat when we're not at home, check on home security when we're away on vacation, and in some cases, even switch on lights to make it look like the home is occupied. And have you heard about the smart ovens that can automatically defrost something that is frozen and have it cooked before you arrive home from work? How much easier would that make your life?

But that is just on the personal/household side of the equation.

Businesses rely on wireless signals for basic functioning needs (even answering the telephone in some cases) from accepting payment via debit or credit cards to researching online databases (legal, accounting, and health fields) and communicating with offices in other parts of the country and/or world.

"Sure", you say. "I know all of that".

Have you considered how many of our machines automatically communicate with other machines to keep businesses and companies running smoothly and efficiently? Where yards and yards of wires used to be required to connect machines, wireless technology has changed their game and functionality as well, enabling them to increase efficiency and manage energy and resources to the benefit of all parties involved.

M2M? IoT? What and why all the hoopla, and what does it have to do with me and my business?

Everything - if only you knew! According to Wikipedia, M2M is:

"Machine to machine refers to direct communication between devices using any communications channel, including wired and wireless. In modern times the communication is often via the Internet of Things (IoT)." (https://en.wikipedia.org)

While the possibilities are endless, here are just a few of the areas that already benefit from the progression of M2M and also stand to gain even more from further advancements:

• Manufacturing – From robots and machines to assembly lines and warehouses, the manufacturers of cars, electronics, and a multitude of other products rely on M2M to ensure that all of their equipment is communicating properly. This is essential to maintaining balance and efficiency in an automated manufacturing environment.

• Home Appliances – Imagine your fridge being able to automatically order items that you're out of, as soon as you run out! Or your washing machine, dryer, or even dishwasher being able to tell you when they’ve completed their cycles. Personally, I’d love it if my washing machine sent me a text when it went off balance so that I could immediately reset it! M2M communication would easily make this possible, and make sure that we never run out of the essentials that we use on a daily basis.

• Healthcare – Being able to respond at lightning fast speeds can mean the difference between life or death within the hospital or in the case of a crisis at home. Humans can have a longer reaction time due to many different reasons from fatigue to momentary shock, to an influx in the amount of time it takes for our brains to register that there’s an alarm going off. If a machine could automatically administer oxygen to someone or call for an ambulance at the first sign of trouble within the home of an elderly individual, countless lives could be saved.

• Smart Utility Management – Utility companies will soon be able to gather more complete data on energy use (and waste) in households, neighborhoods, and even on a city scale. The data will be gathered automatically saving their employees time and energy, and enabling them to have immediate results compiled. This could have a dramatic effect on the environment around us as we are able to become more aware of how our actions affect our world.

Now, all of the above is amazing. While I was aware of companies beginning to move in this direction, I had no idea of the scale in which our lives would be affected by all of these advancements! And this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The industries that could benefit from advancement in M2M communications and steady wireless signal is nearly all inclusive – and I’m sure people are coming up with new ideas as each month passes.

Despite my slight knowledge in this area, I had never heard the term M2M. Maybe you hadn't either, even though you're aware that there are machines capable of automatically communicating with one another to keep workflow moving smoothly. In addition, I had definitely never heard of IoT, which is:

"The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects - devices, vehicles, buildings and other items that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data." (https://en.wikipedia.org/)

Wikipedia goes on to explain that:

"The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit; when IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/)

With M2M and IoT, just about anything is possible.

50 billion objects. I feel that needs to be repeated a second time. 50 billion objects. And that is just four years from now! This technology will soon affect nearly every aspect of our daily lives (if it doesn’t already).

How much is the Machine to Machine Industry is Predicted to Grow

If you think the world is an amazing place now, take a look at the predictions for the future of wireless technology and M2M communication. With each passing year, not only do we make great strides in technological advancement, but new goals are created and new ideas for use are imagined. Where we once thought that compact and smart cell phones were the ultimate prize, our sights are now set higher than ever.

According to a new market research report, " Cellular M2M Market by Application (Video Surveillance, Fleet Management, Asset Tracking, Theft Recovery and POS), by Service, by User Type, by Vertical & by Region - Global Forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market size is estimated to grow from USD 3.22 Billion in 2015 to USD 11.50 Billion by 2020, at an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.0%." (www.marketwatch.com)

"The report estimates that global spending on M2M and IoT technologies will reach nearly $250 Billion by 2020, driven by a host of vertical market applications including but not limited to connected car services, remote asset tracking, healthcare monitoring, smart metering, digital signage, home automation and intelligent buildings." (www.businesswire.com). Now you know how much is riding on "Internet of Things" - Making M2M one of the top growing industries in the world.

Some of the companies to watch for additional updates and exciting progression in this field are:

• Accenture
• Amazon.com
• AT&T
• BlackBerry
• Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group)
• Bosch
• BT Group
• Ericsson
• Fujitsu
• Google
• Huawei
• HyperCat Consortium
• Hyundai
• Intel Corporation
• Motorola Solutions
• Panasonic Corporation
• Philips
• Samsung Electronics
• Siemens Medical
• Sony Corporation
• Sprint Corporation
• STMicroelectronics
• Verizon Wireless
• Vodafone Group

Are your machines communicating when you’re not looking?

Yes, M2M and IoT is certainly amazing! Plus we're going to be seeing some incredible advancements over the next couple of years. Our cars and household appliances may be able to complete tasks that we never dreamed we would be asking them to handle. But just like our cell phones, these amazing advancements will be all for naught if the wireless signal isn't there.

Have you fathomed how much your business will suffer without properly working wireless technology?

While I strongly recommend running through the short and simpler list of possible reception blockers in an earlier blog, a signal booster is going to be your best bet for ensuring that you, your employees, your customers, and your machines will always have access to the wireless signal needed. In particular, M2M Signal Boosters are a simple solution that will give you immediate results.

Consider that besides providing hours of entertainment through games, applications, texting, and streaming of music and videos, wireless technology provides our world with additional resources to complete tasks that would otherwise take us months or years to accumulate. Whether it is information gathering, increased efficiency in manufacturing, or even additional support within the health care environment, it is this technology that keeps us moving at the steady pace that we're so well adjusted to.

How to further protect yourself due to dependence on machine to machine operations

So take a moment to walk through your office, business, or even your own home and check your cell phone / wireless reception in each area. If you happen to see your signal drop, double check the list above to see if you can determine the root cause of the poor reception. If you're finding that there are more areas with poor signal than there are with good signal, it may be time to start taking measures to increase your wireless reception. And if none of the "usual suspects" seem to be the problem, it may be time to look into a cell phone signal booster.

There are lots of options out there to choose from, but make sure to do your research before heading down that path. Know what kind of coverage you’re looking for before picking a unit. For large indoor spaces such as inside mega sized buildings and warehouses, it is possible that you may need more than one booster or a heavy duty signal booster to provide you with the complete coverage for your facility. But the good news is that these boosters are compact and affordable. So you won’t lose space or break the bank. M2M signal boosters are even more affordable but they will boost reception for a single machine or device boosting cellular reception inside an encased unit such as an ATM or vending machine. This ensures the cellular device inside such machines is able to communicate with its counterpart at its destination someplace elsewhere in the city or out of state, using its cellular connection.

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