In the 101 course, we covered some of the different pieces of cellular hardware that can be used to allow your device to connect to the Internet. However, without an application to use, what is the point of connecting? I mean, an iPad is a cool device, but with no apps, it is just an overpriced paperweight.
So, let's take a closer look at some common applications that customers use to make their life better.
As with the 101 course which was recorded into a video webinar, you can also watch/listen to a webinar version of this blog post.
Regardless of the application, there are 4 different gains that you may see. Depending on the application, you may see some or all of these:
1. Increased productivity through better access to data and less clerical work
2. Better redundancy to ensure that key systems stay up and running
3. Better track of "assets" to reduce theft and repair costs as well as to improve worker safety
4. Overall lowering of CAPEX and OPEX costs
As part of any solution, you need to manage the moving parts of the solution to make sure that it stays working. M2M solutions are no different....in order to properly get all of the ROI that you can out of a solution, you need to manage:
1. The SIM....making sure that the rate plans and data usage are in line with what you budgeted
2. The Device ... You need to update firmware/settings and how your device integrates into the solution in general
3. The Data ... You need to be alarmed for the vital things and be able to search/pattern the non-vital stuff
4. Experience ... If your users don't like how the data is presented, they won't use it!
Using a combination of technologies, these solutions allow information to be retrieved from a huge range of devices, ranging from Industrial equipment to ATMs to farming equipment.
The idea is to get better, real-time information into the hands of the people who need that information to make educated decisions. This ranges from your field staff, to your customer service people, to the finance team and even to the repair team from the manufacturer of the machine.
The goal is to reduce costs and downtime while maximizing the life of the device. In addition, it allows you to better use your key team members, allowing you to do more with less.
Here is an interesting example from John Deere:
* Their engineers assumed that in order to compete, they needed to use a bigger fuel tank on-board. However, larger tanks meant higher costs and more fuel usage by the owners.
* When they did real-life analysis, they determined that they were wrong....their customers rarely went below 1/2 to 2/3 of a tank, making the larger tank unnecessary.
* As a result, they reduced the size of the tank, thereby reducing costs and fuel consumption.
Here is why:
* Lower installation costs
* Quicker setup time
* Increased flexibility in placements
Who uses them? Here are a few ideas:
* Remote machines such as ATMs / Kiosks, tanks and
* Primary communication for mobile offices, temporary locations and 3rd party offices
* IT departments love them for Out of Band management
* Providing a key backup for all connections
The limit of what you can do in M2M is up to the person deploying it. After 20 years, I see new applications every day. Just think....what could you do with real-time information from all of your remote assets?