I was having a coffee in my hotel lobby the other day and heard a very interesting conversation. The gents that were talking worked for the Government (or at least on a Government project) and they were talking about how their bosses had installed a new system that allowed for their IT people to monitor remote sites. They could now know so much about what is going on, and these guys could not be more upset!
The reason for their anger? Well, it turns out that they use to tell the boss quite often that they had to go work on an outage at a remote site as a way to run errands on the company's time and now, they could no longer use that excuse. As a business owner, I actually got a kick out of this, but for many years, I worked for someone else so that mentality is not all that foreign to me.
It started me to thinking ... Is M2M going to have issues as it must force customers to address some issues in their company that they had previously not known about?
I was driving through a particularly windy area of Washington State last year. My vehicle handles well, so I was going at a good pace (a legal one) when I was wildly passed by a van. The van was owned by a well-known chain of service workers (don't want to get anyone in trouble!), but based on the road conditions, this was obviously a speed that this vehicle was not safe to travel at.
So, it makes a lot of sense that an AVL solution would be ideal to control this. However, this scenario brings up the "Big Brother" concern among workers (especially among unions) as much or more than any other. Companies do have the right to have their property treated well, but people do not like to have their driving habits scrutinized. It definitely is an area of contention for many employer/employee relations.
Many years ago, I worked at a hospital in the Toronto area. I noticed that they seemed to have too many cleaners on-board for the work, but it was kind of how they had always done it. Imagine if an M2M solution exposed that (based on the actual time to do certain tasks), the hospital would be able to eliminate 25% of their workers in this area without suffering any declines in productivity?
This scenario is actually becoming more common now, especially in unionized environments. Companies (and especially Government agencies) are under a lot of pressure to do more with less resources and an obvious way to reduce costs is to better staff your team based on the actual work that has to be done. However, no one likes to see anyone lose their job, so many progressive agencies are using the extra "resources" to move into other under-serviced areas. That being said, it does make sense that M2M solutions will prove that many positions are not needed....this is something that has to be addressed.
When I used to work in IT, we used to intentionally crash some non-essential computers if we were looking to have "an easy" afternoon....I can't imagine that I was the only person. This let me sit in front of a computer for hours to re-load the machine, which was a rather easy way to spend an afternoon.
For many jobs (as the initial example shows), there is the "computer-crash" equivalent. It is a great way to make some work for yourself, whether it is in the mode of trying to create work for yourself or trying to get away from the office. M2M solutions allow for remote resets and consistent monitoring, so it will be tougher to justify the trip away from the office.
I guess the line about not being able to please everyone all of the time does apply here. As a business owner, there are serious upsides to the movement towards M2M and it won't be slowing down anytime soon. However, we have to be cognizant of the fact that many workers will have their own reasons to see these solutions fail. As an industry, it is easier if we don't bury these issues, but rather address them head on.
As always, Novotech is ready to assist with your M2M needs. Whether you’re looking to control, track, monitor or back-up, Novotech has the solutions and products you need. View our Line Cards and let us know how we can be of assistance.