What is M2M?

If you’ve been listening to the latest technology buzz, you have probably heard of the term M2M. For those unaware of M2M, it might sound like the newest mobile phone feature, or it even bring up some memories of a pop music group from the early 2000s.

The problem is most M2M end consumers have never heard of it, nor do they really care. The good news is that they don’t need to be aware of it to experience the functionality and benefits of M2M.

So…What Is It?

M2M communications = Machine-to-Machine communications. M2M technology allows machines to talk to each other. This technology enables the transmission and translation of any wired or wireless data into actionable business information. M2M solutions enables a wide range of industries, such as oil and gas, fleet management, agriculture, medical, food service, smart energy and much more, to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.

How Does It Work?

An example of M2M technology solution at work is tank level monitoring. Storage tanks can contain any type of bulk liquid, solid, or gas.

Let’s look at a 30 ton fertilizer bin of an agriculture retailer in Nebraska. At one specific location, there is a group of 6 fertilizer bins. The staff, at the retailer, no longer wants to climb up and bang on the side of the bin in order to “hear” how much fertilizer is in the bin. With a M2M technology solution in place, they now expect the upstream supplier of the fertilizer to the amount of fertilizer in the bin and schedule the delivery of more fertilizer.

So how does this information get to these suppliers without requiring them to make a bunch of wasted trips?

A bulk solid level sensor, which connects interval readings, is equipped with a radio, wire, or cellular card that transmits the sensors readings to a central location or communications gateway. The data is then transmitted from this location to the Internet (through any type of connection) and organized into actionable data – graphs and maps, which allows the supplier to view the status of all 6 of these tanks from his computer or smart phone. He can set up alerts when any tank’s level reaches a critical threshold. With these alerts, he ensures his customers that they will never run out of fertilizer.

This story is just one example in one industry of the power of M2M and the impact it can have on improving business operations and safety.

Why Now?

“It’s not that these types of remote monitoring and control solutions haven’t been desired for a long time,” says Kim Pearson, CEO of New Boundary Technologies, “but rather that it really has taken years for the costs of devices, networks, and data transmission to drop low enough for the implementation to make sense.”

With the dramatic decline in the cost of technology, has spurred the growth of M2M industry. This, now, makes it the ideal time to get involved in M2M technology.

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