[Article written by Tamsin Oxford and illustrations by Viktor Koen, published in the the Review, Winter 2011]
The use of M2M communication is growing, delivering a wide range of benefits to consumers and enterprises alike. But this isn’t just about another gadget – M2M has the potential to change the relationship between man and technology.
Wired and wireless networks are interconnected using the internet, sensors are embedded in physical objects, and machines are communicating with other machines autonomously, transmitting real-time data that is processed and shared instantaneously, without any human intervention. This is the essence of Machine-to-Machine communication (M2M), an intelligent solution that connects people and devices in ways that are sometimes unexpected, often brilliant and always supremely efficient.
“M2M communication is all about things being connected to each other to improve logistics and manage the processes of work more efficiently than other means would normally allow you to do,” explains Norbert Muhrer, CEO of Cinterion, the world’s leading supplier of wireless modules for the cellular M2M market.
A recent report by management consulting firm McKinsey* discusses how the predictable pathways of information are changing, with the physical world itself becoming a type of information system – a phenomenon often referred to as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT for short) or ‘Internet of the Future’. The authors see two broad categories emerging: ‘Information and Analysis’ and ‘Automation and Control’. In the former, the network linking of data from products, or the environment, will enhance decision-making and analysis.
In the latter, the information collected via the IoT will feed back to modify processes, thereby raising productivity and machine autonomy.
* McKinsey Quarterly 2010, ‘Internet of Things’ by Michael Chui, Markus Löffler and Roger Roberts