Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Bob Gourley, Sematext Blog, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Internet of Things: M2M and Big Data: Rise of the Machines

Don’t Worry – It’s a Good Thing!

Science fiction films abound that warn of machines taking control and wreaking havoc on the human race. "2001: A Space Odyssey," "War Games" and "I, Robot" are just a few of the titles that propose what might happen if we hand too much power over to intelligent, interconnected machines.

Decades after the first cautionary tale, the world's machines are more intelligent and more interconnected than even science fiction authors could have predicted. Machine to Machine (M2M) communication and the mobile revolution have led to the phenomenon of Big Data, an influx of structured and unstructured data at volumes and velocities never before heard of. The insightful analysis of all that data is proving to be a blessing to humanity, not the threat that many feared. M2M and Big Data Analytics can help reduce costs and create competitive advantage for a wide variety of businesses.

What Is M2M?
M2M refers to systems and technologies that make it possible for networked devices to exchange information and perform actions on their own, without (or with minimal) human intervention. Gathering sensor data from devices, analyzing it and using it to exercise more intelligent control can drive better outcomes. Everyday examples include:

Smart meters, coupled with predictive analytics, enable utility companies to predict demand patterns, automatically adjust to meet peak demand and avoid over-production when demand is low.

Remote medical sensors can monitor patients, remind them if they've forgotten their medications and alert doctors when intervention might be needed.

Smart buildings have sensors that can analyze environmental data to save energy and improve safety.

Traffic data from networked sensors can be analyzed to predict shifts in traffic patterns. Using this information to control traffic signals can actually prevent traffic jams, not just ease them.

Automated systems like GM's OnStar can alert emergency services when accidents occur, even when the humans involved aren't able to help themselves.

How M2M Came to Be
M2M didn't arrive on the scene overnight; as with anything else, it followed an evolutionary process. Back in the 1980s, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems were introduced to enhance controls for electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and to improve monitoring and control for traffic and transportation systems. In the '90s, Wireless Sensor Networks were introduced to improve monitoring and control in many manufacturing and industrial systems. Wireless made it easier to monitor and control a broader range of devices but only supported limited, short-range connections.

When data modules were introduced in the mid-1990s and early 2000s that could communicate via cellular networks, a major leap forward occurred. These systems were used first to connect point of sale (POS) terminals, vehicle sensors and other remote monitoring and tracking systems, and then were further extended to automatic meter reading, security, elevator control, fleet management, vending and telemedicine.

M2M communication and applications have really exploded in diversity and number since the introduction of the Internet as a backbone for communication. Three major factors have combined to accelerate the recent growth in M2M:

  1. More data from more devices can be combined and analyzed more quickly due to advances in tools and technologies for big data analysis and predictive analytics. This enables machine-driven actions based on anticipated conditions - not just faster reaction times.
  2. The "everywhereness" of broadband networks, wireless and Internet has given rise to the Internet of Things (IoT) and has made it easier and cheaper than ever to connect devices. Assign an IP address to a device with Internet access and you can communicate with it anywhere in the world.
  3. Cheaper and smaller sensors, memory and processing power mean that more devices can be networked, and the devices themselves can be smarter.

M2M Now and in the Future
Gartner Inc. estimates that there are currently just under 30 billion connected devices and projects $309 billion in additional revenue for product and service suppliers by 2020 due to IoT. They also predict $1.9 trillion in total economic impact from improved productivity and cost savings, among other factors.

As an example of IoT's impact, Gartner turns its attention to data centers. The analyst firm predicts that IoT product and service suppliers will generate revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services, by 2020.

How M2M Is Being Applied
With virtually every industry impacted, M2M's technology solutions applications are startling in their breadth and diversity. Machina Research points to benefits as varied as reduced energy costs, improved safety and security, and increased efficiency and faster response times for emergency services and national defense. Here are some examples:

In terms of how far along companies in key verticals are in implementing M2M initiatives, another recent study by Techpro Research offers some insight. Energy, IT and automotive top the list in current implementations, or plans to implement in the next 12 months, followed by Healthcare, Facility Management, Manufacturing and Retail.

M2M Success in the Marketplace
If businesses do thoughtful planning around how to use M2M to achieve their goals, opportunities to boost revenues, cut costs and more effectively serve customers are tremendous. A few recent examples include:

Retail - Nestlé Nespresso SA has equipped its coffee machines used in restaurants, hotels, offices and luxury retail boutiques to transmit operational and performance data from each machine to a cloud platform for tracking and analysis. The system tracks descaling and other maintenance procedures and alerts technical staff if servicing is required. The applications can also be used to remotely adjust water temperature and pressure. The system helps ensure that machines are maintained in excellent condition, that they produce the highest-quality coffee, cup after cup, and that customers are well supplied with their coffee of choice.

Transportation - The automotive industry and the U.S. Federal Government are embracing M2M. The US Department of Transportation recently conducted research that suggests that Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technology could prevent the majority of crashes involving two or more vehicles. Sensors can monitor speed and location of nearby vehicles, analyze risks and either warn drivers (near term) or take action on their own (longer term) to avoid accidents. The research could lead to a mandate to use V2V in the future.

Healthcare - Partnering with the University Teaching Hospitals of Grenoble and Toulouse, France Telecom R&D launched a project called "Gluconet" for managing diabetic patients remotely. A special instrument is used to periodically read patient glycemia data. This information gets transmitted automatically to the management center via mobile devices. The doctors can access the information over the Internet. Based on the analysis, doctors send medical advice to patients via SMS or voice messaging. The key advantage here is that both patients and doctors are alerted of any complications well before they become life-threatening.

Consumer - Lexmark, a provider of printing and imaging products, software, solutions and services, deployed M2M for more effective customer servicing. Lexmark uses M2M to collect data from millions of printers. The company analyzes the data to streamline its products to serve customers better, increase revenues and reduce operational costs.

Facilities Management - Commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) deployed an M2M system called IntelliCommand to collect data from building systems for security and protection against heating, cooling or fire incidents. Information collected by remote sensors is transmitted to a cloud-hosted system for in-depth analysis. When sensors collect data that strays outside of established parameters, alarms are relayed to a control center to alert managers. JLL's pilot installation with four sites enabled clients to cut costs by 15-20 percent. The real estate giant is now extending its deployment to 76 buildings.

How to Begin the Process
M2M possibilities for some organizations are self-evident. An equipment manufacturer might see an opportunity to leverage machine data to provide better service and build loyalty. Another might see an opportunity to add value that can be monetized. Some companies might find themselves threatened by competitors who have already started using M2M to gain advantage. But it's not so cut and dried for some businesses. The "M2M Opportunity Matrix" shown here offers some structure that can be used to think about M2M and identify opportunities that can improve business performance.

Listed across the top of the Matrix are possible business objectives. This isn't an exhaustive list, but you could do a lot of good for your business by finding ways to reduce cost, increase revenue or add value.

Options related to data sources are listed down the left side. Your organization might already have a large database of information that's coming in from POS systems or manufacturing control systems or some other source - Data In-Hand. But maybe you haven't figured out what to do with the information yet. There might be additional data that you could be collecting from existing "sensors" - New Data from Existing Sources. Or there might be new data that you could access with new sensors, or by sourcing from outside your company - New Data from New Sources. Probably, the data you already have in hand is going to be the easiest to tap into to achieve business objectives. But some opportunities might be so valuable that it's worth deploying new sensors to gather new data.

There's a potential M2M opportunity at the juncture of each business objective and data source. So, do some brainstorming. Start the process by thinking of how to leverage different data sources to achieve various business objectives. It can go in a lot of directions from there.

Alternatively, an experienced data consultant can help you look objectively at your situation and help you to identify low-hanging fruit or the really game-changing opportunities that could deliver more transformative results. There are a lot of right answers. The best thing is to get started.

Making the Most of M2M
It turns out that, so far at least, all those cautionary tales about intelligent machines have proven untrue. In fact, interconnected machines and the data they generate are improving the ways we live and do business. Smarter systems that don't need to rely on slower human input and that can more quickly adapt as needed are the upshot of M2M. Even now we are seeing incredible innovations like remote glucose monitoring, more efficient printing and safer buildings. And that's only the beginning. At the risk of imitating sci fi writers who were a bit off-base, we hesitate to predict what other life-enhancing technologies powered by M2M are on the horizon.

You, meanwhile, should not hesitate to take part in the M2M revolution. If you wait for someone else to figure out how to best leverage M2M, you are likely to lose market share or lose the opportunity altogether. It may seem overwhelming to know where to start; if that's the case, work with a data consultant who can help create a plan. Don't let the intelligent machines outsmart you.

More Stories By Sam Ganga

Sam Ganga is President of Global Mobility Services at DMI and also serves as the company’s Mobile Innovations Officer. He is responsible for Global Mobility Services at DMI, overseeing managed services growth across government and commercial accounts. Specifically, he oversees the Cloud-Based Managed Services, Managed Mobility Services and Government Mobility Services divisions. Sam’s group focuses on providing managed services through DMI’s Data Center, using secure management of mobile devices, applications and data, while reducing risk and complexity for customers.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.