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

How M2M Can Tell You the Things You Need to Know - NOW!

Posted by Dale Calder

Apr 20, 2011 10:04:00 AM

I was reading the news last week and an article concerning Air France 447 caught my attention.  (Tail of Air France jet found in Atlantic at cnn.com)  To bring you back up to speed, on June 1st, 2009, Air France Flight 447 left Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on its way to Paris.  Over the Atlantic, the flight tragically disappeared. 

Last week, after two years of searching, the French government located the debris field and began the arduous task of recovering the aircraft.

So after reading the article, it occurred to me:

With a network of satellites circling the globe, how can we lose an aircraft and know nothing about what happened?

After researching it a bit, I learned that the plane did, in fact, communicate information and events while en route though a maintenance system called Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) - designed to provide advance warning of maintenance topics. While this system provided some insight into what was going onboard the flight at the time, it turned out to be inconclusive.  

To gain an accurate picture of what really happened, the onboard data recorders needed to be recovered and analyzed. Until that happens, we are left to question what led to the catastrophic events of that day. Was it a malfunction in the plane’s electronics? A failure of the plane’s fuselage? Or something totally unforeseen? Until that information is analyzed, we don’t actually know why this happened, or if it potentially could again. 

With our massive communications infrastructure and virtually limitless computing resources, I am perplexed as to why something like an airplane is not monitored in real-time. We should know where it is, if it is on its proper course, if the operating parameters are within norm, or if a series of DNA markers are showing potential trouble, and hence the need for human intervention. We do a better job of monitoring trucks on the highway or shipping containers in our ports.

The information from each and every black box should be transmitted and analyzed while the plane is in the air. We are now in the age of global connectivity. M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is connecting us to everything and giving us the tools to predict failure and to avoid it. I for one would like to see this technology used in our air travel – some things you just have to know NOW!

Topics: M2M, Connected Products

Plan Axeda or Plan B?

Posted by Erin Smith

Jan 12, 2011 8:00:00 AM

The Year of M2M is here and Axeda is making it easier for companies to take advantage of the massive opportunity.  This video speaks more about our new free platform offering that aims to remove the barriers to developing game changing M2M applications.

 

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, machine-to-machine, Axeda Platform

Welcome to Dale's Blog

Posted by Dale Calder

Sep 30, 2010 10:39:00 AM

As a 15 year M2M veteran, it’s exciting to see the rapid evolution of the market over the last few years.  The advent of cloud computing and steady decline in the cost of wireless communication has made it so everyday products can now be connected.

As I have said in the press, disconnected products are dead, they are lame.  The most innovative product companies have seen the light and are betting their futures on the services that can be delivered through their products.  Examples such as the Kindle and On-Star have demonstrated what these connections can do for an industry.  The product is simply a platform for game-changing app development.

Over the next month, I will blog from CTIA and 4G, provide my opinions on why I think the smart grid model is all screwed up, and why carriers must pursue horizontal M2M strategies to win the race.  I hope you will join the conversation!

In the meantime, if you are trying to learn and advance your own M2M initiatives, be sure to visit our developer community at: http://developer.axeda.com/  

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, machine-to-machine

We Have Seen the Light – and its Name is CLOUD!

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 25, 2010 2:54:00 PM

Microsoft Pickets Salesforce.com at Cloudforce

It made me think!   Why is Microsoft picketing salesforce.com.  Could it be that they don’t like what the cloud is doing to their business?  Could it be that cloud computing will demolish IT as we know it?   Could it be that Microsoft has figured out that they are a dinosaur?   Hmmm…

Today millions of people and an entire ecosystem of companies selling billions of dollars worth of goods are involved in an activity that history will paint as the rough equivalent to “sticking a needle in your eye.”  

 Picture this:

  • You allocate a significant percentage of your people and dollars and have them work on things that are out of your core competency
  • Once you have done that, start buying parts that you have to put together, operate, and be totally responsible for
  • And for the cherry on the top – you will have to pay the companies that sold you the bag of parts just to pick up the phone when you call

Sound like a good deal?

No way! Yet, I would say that is a fair description of the global IT market as it is today – and it’s painful!      

Benefit can be derived, but high costs, risks, and distractions to your core business are CRAZY OUT OF CONTROL!

The way I look at it, IT in its current incarnation is going the way of the dodo bird.   The global pervasive network called the Internet allows us to consume our IT in a better way – hosted and operated in the cloud by companies who make it their business to do it well.  And the best part, if you don’t like it, you change.   No bag of parts, no big capital expenditures to hold on to, no regrets.  You can even call them without having to pay something extra.   It’s all good.

Over the next 10 years – the “old” tech companies will either completely reinvent themselves or perish!   This is their buggy whip-to-automobile moment.   Cloud is it – it’s cheaper, better, and easier.   

So to Microsoft – I am sorry – we will not go back to the old ways.   We have seen the light – and its name is CLOUD!

Topics: Axeda, M2M, Connected Products, Axeda Connexion, Platform-as-a-Service; PaaS; Axeda Platform, Axeda Platform, cloud, cloud computing; SaaS

Top 10 Reasons for On-Demand Solutions

Posted by Dale Calder

Jun 18, 2008 2:49:00 PM

As promised in my last article, these are my own Top 10 reasons why organizations should adopt SaaS/On Demand solutions:

1. Focus: It goes without saying that companies do the best when they operate within their organization's core competency. By getting rid of distractions an organization is better able to focus on its unique value-add. An analogy - all companies use electricity but none make it.

2. Reduced Costs: SaaS solutions have a much more attractive investment profile. Almost all SaaS solutions start with moderate up front investment that enables your return to grow with your investment versus having to capture it back over 18 - 36 months.

3. Leverage Best Practices: Most SaaS solutions have evolved to encompass best practices through the volume of experience gained by interacting on a particular business process automation problem. An organization is infinitely better off leveraging this expertise and adapting its execution to embrace it. Extensive customizations are like a ball and chain - they are heavy and no fun to carry with you over time.

4. Time to Value: Return on investment is comprised of three items. Investment - cash out to reach some goal. Return - value back. Time - time it takes to start getting your return. Since SaaS solutions are packaged and ready to use, there is a much shorter window until the returns start. i.e. no infrastructure to build = quicker time to value.

5. Solution Consumability: Change is an attribute of life - do it or become extinct. Too big of a change, too fast or too little too late and you are toast. Highly packaged SaaS solutions are ideally suited to the evolutionary approach - take a step and then adapt to environmental conditions.

6. You Don't Know What you Don't Know: Heaven and Hell are in the details. No one is an expert in an area without living it. There is always complexity hiding under the covers as projects scale.

7. Accountability: Who would you feel more comfortable holding accountable - your internal IT organization - part of which just got outsourced - or a company that is in business to solve your problem?

8. No Shelfware: We have all heard the horror stories from the 90's - millions of dollars of value setting on the shelf - consuming a solution as a service eliminates this risk.

9. Pain Avoidance is Good: If everything went as planned there would be no need for management. Suffice it to say - it does not. So where do you want to spend your valuable organizational bandwidth? Avoiding a task avoids the pain associated with its growth and development. I don't really care how the car works - as long as it takes me where I want to go.

10. Simplicity! A packaged simple to use service is always better than purchasing the parts, putting it together, and maintaining it. KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid!


There were several excellent Top 10 lists on various topics associated with SaaS. These are the lists I found particularly useful:

1. Bessemer's Top 10 Laws for Being "SaaS-y"
2. Top 10 SaaS Traps: Watch Out For Hidden Snags
3. Crownpeak Challenges Top Ten SaaS Myths

Topics: M2M, Connected Products, SaaS, On-Demand, Axeda Platform, cloud

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