Machine to machine (M2M) originated as a term used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions through wired or wireless communications without human involvement. In Mobile to Machine, a mobile device talks to a static host, relying on wireless networks to communicate. This type of human-free interaction isn’t entirely new but it has been significantly facilitated by recent advances in high-speed wireless networks such as 3G, WiMAX and LTE. The connectivity of mobile machines collecting data and reporting it back to a server is now a matter of setting up a couple of IP addresses and has created the basis for what we now collectively call the ‘’Internet of Things” (IoT).
Benefits of M2M
The simple technology behind M2M today enables a plethora of dynamic relationships between multiple parties (service providers, manufacturers, payment processors, consumers), via previously unconscious (‘’dummy’’) components. Components that are interconnected wirelessly can streamline productivity, along with the speed of the production line, ensure the output of the correct products based on consumer demand, and improve maintenance and minimise downtime by servicing equipment only when it is needed.
How Does It Work?
In a broad sense, M2M can be used in almost all industrial processes. Sensors or meters can now relay the data they measure and record (e.g. inventory levels, number of units produced, temperature of raw materials or the production environment, etc.) to application software that can read it and follow up (e.g. replenish inventory, speed up production, regulate temperature or chemical components).
Originally, this communication was only possible by having machines send information back to a server or a central hub for analysis, which would only then forward it on to a smarter system (e.g. a computer), which could assign actions, based on the input. More recently, machine to machine communication has evolved into a system of networks that transmits data directly to personal appliances (smart devices, IoT), without the need for intermediaries. The expansion of wireless connectivity worldwide has made M2M faster and easier, while requiring less computing power, making this technology more accessible than ever for many sectors.
In order to function and transmit correctly, a modern M2M system requires several components, including some type of sensor, a wireless connection and an application built to assist a networked smart device in interpreting the input (data) and making decisions based on it. Telemetry was one of the early fields, in which operational data was transmitted and used to make adjustments in engineering or manufacturing processes. Today, similar processes can be used for every-day applications, including personal biometrics, home temperature, lighting and electricity controls, making up the so-called ‘’smart’’ devices (activity trackers, heart monitors, thermostats, bulbs, etc.)
Industrial Applications of M2M
Mobile to Machine communication is often used to improve the production and efficiency of machines and humans, to streamline the maintenance of key assets, and to increase the reliability and safety of industrial equipment. M2M can revolutionise all sorts of remote monitoring and equipment health checks, as well as other processes that aren’t easily or efficiently performed by humans:
- Material/inventory restocking: a warehouse, storage unit or vending device can message the supplier when levels are running low, making M2M an important component in warehouse management, supply chain, and logistics, to name a few.
- Utility meters: remote monitoring can help efficiently record data, handle billing and prevent fraud. This results in reduced downtimes and accidents and increased quality and output volumes.
- Vehicle management: M2M can be utilised to allow owners to monitor and control vehicle charge (for hybrid and electric cars), climate control, refueling options and locations based on real-time prices, tyre pressure and other settings.
- Industrial robotisation: as manufacturing facilities increasingly rely on robots, it is critical for key production or palletisation machines to communicate faults in a timely manner. M2M is an excellent way to implement early fault detection and correction, reducing downtime and losses.
- Synchronised data at all levels of the organisation can ensure ERP, CRM and SCM processes are optimised based on the latest parameters and trends, ultimately improving results.
M2M in Your Enterprise
Enterprises are gradually realising the benefits of interconnecting remote facilities, devices, sensors, machines and people, collecting, analysing and acting on the data collected from them in order to make better informed, timely decisions about the management of materials, production and distribution processes and equipment maintenance. Various sectors, including public administration, utilities, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, military, medical, logistics, aviation, etc. already utilise mobile to machine technologies across numerous applications.
When it comes to making M2M work for you, it is important that you work with an implementation partner who can advise you on both the hardware and applications that can best solve your organisation’s challenges. PegusApps has experience in developing and installing solutions for M2M interactions, including industrial applications of IoT, enterprise-level integrations and reporting. Get in touch with us to find out more.
Copywriter: Ina Danova