The Connected Effect

M2M and Business 2.0

Posted by Dale Calder

May 3, 2011 11:23:00 AM

Repeat after me - M2M (machine-to-machine) is not just about connecting machines! 
M2M is the name that is used to describe a vibrant and growing industry.   Some pundits estimate that over 50 billion machines and devices will be connected by 2020.  This is an order of magnitude greater than the number of cell phones on the planet.   It’s crazy big.

Unfortunately, when most people hear the term M2M, they think of two machines communicating with each other.  Interesting?  YES.   Earth transforming? NO. 

So to push the “M2M envelope” past the machine, I would like to take this opportunity to clear up a few misconceptions:

1. Any source of real-time information can be part of a M2M solution -> A device, product, phone, computer, and yes even a machine will suffice.  
2. The second M or 2nd “machine” in the name - is really a misnomer.   The real-time information source needs something to talk to, but that is generally a group of computers in the cloud not another machine.  
3. The bank of computers in the cloud is not the final destination of the machine information, but should more properly be thought of as a waypoint.  
4. After the waypoint, the information finds its way to many places.   People, business systems, cloud systems, and even other machines.
5. M2M is not about one-to-one conversations, but about many to many!   Think about a chain reaction vs. a bucket brigade.

Does this sound familiar?

Stated more directly, in M2M, sensory input (the machines and products), move stimulus to a central brain (the cloud computers), creating action and movement (changes to those or other machines or products). 

Sounds a lot like the way the human body works to me.

In my opinion, M2M is not about connecting machines but about refactoring historic/disconnected businesses and transforming them into svelte, modern, nimble intelligent organisms.

Ultimately, I believe that M2M will go down in history as being as impactful to modern business as the assembly line, robotic manufacturing, or even the electric motor.  

So when you hear the term M2M make sure you look beyond the machine and instead think about how its real-time synapses can turn your organization into an intelligent organism.

M2M = Business 2.0!

Topics: M2M, Connected Products

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