What\'s the deal with M2M?


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This sounds like a James Cameron futurist movie where the machine would take over the world, right? No, we are far from fighting with guns to survive our technology evolution.
The last decade we saw explosion of Internet services which helped in the development of companies businesses by boosting their sales processes, advertisement, services or product promotion. The infrastructure putted in place is opening the gate to a new area: technology convergence. We are seeing the TV going Web, the Web going Cell phone, the cell phone going computer (Windows CE, iPhone) which is the intersection results of different infrastructure and services: Telecom, information and broadcasting networks.

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What\'s the deal with M2M?

  1. 1. What’s the deal with M2M or M2M2H? By T Laurent, CEO @ TopTechies.net MACHINE TO MACHINE? MACHINE TO MACHINE TO HUMAN? This sounds like a James Cameron futurist movie where the machine would take over the world, right? No, we are far from fighting with guns to survive our technology evolution. The last decade we saw explosion of Internet services which helped in the development of companies businesses by boosting their sales processes, advertisement, services or product promotion. The infrastructure putted in place is opening the gate to a new area: technology convergence. We are seeing the TV going Web, the Web going Cell phone, the cell phone going computer (Windows CE, iPhone) which is the intersection results of different infrastructure and services: Telecom, information and broadcasting networks. The first participants of this chain of value were the consumers, craving for information vector of every day’s life facilitation, entertainment (Easy access to music, video), in a nut shell the B2C (business to consumers), then companies understood the Internet would be a great way to interact with others: the B2B (Business to Business). So what was really missing here? The next missing link of this value chain is the way that machines would interact with each other to provide intelligence in the decision processes, in the optimization of industrial processes, in bringing comfort of services to human with instant valuable information… The M2M and the M2M2H was born. Factors of M2M/M2M2H development Several factors were necessary to boost the development of this technology, and we will discover that was not related to a factor of processing power but linked to miniaturization in telecom capacity. The cell phone technologies evolution of was quite surprising the last decade, cell phone Size shrank from a military talkie walkie to the dimension of a credit card to grow back to the size of a 70TH Ti mini- computer. Going through this variation process we gained autonomy, power and intelligence for the best of our everyday life’s organization. But we gain also the capacity to move this technology to others domains such as the industrial processes. We can bring small processor to run minimal computer services to the gate of the Internet. That was the key point of M2M genesis, bringing information capacity to devices. Therefore giving data capacity transport to industrial processes will lead to better control processing, servicing. The convergence of the industry with information world is opening the gate to a tremendous growing market opportunity. The’ M2M or M2M2H represented about $20 Billion market in 2009 and is poised to grow to more than $200 b.
  2. 2. M2M, so what? Now that we can make machine speaking with each other what do we do with it? Let’s understand the real implication through the following schema: schema ENVIRONMENT Lighting Fridge HVAC RFID Server room Data measure Temperature Thermostat hermostat Humidity Switch GSM Alert Motion Monitoring Control by sensor MACHINE TO MACHINE Connectivity Ethernet cable Gateway Execution dispatch Internet Intranet Communication Infrastructure Information GSM Decision WEB APPS & Services AND/OR Business Intelligence Information Decision MACHINE TO HUMAN
  3. 3. M2M architectures are quite complex due to the diversity and the number of layouts composing it. All layouts are not a necessity in M2M or M2M2H solutions; their implication varies in regards of the business, services or mechanism to support. The possibilities offered have for only limit the imagination of engineers. Wherever there is a need to collect data or information to improve decisions processes in environment defining a strong link between the parameters space, power and mobility there is a space for a M2M or M2M2H solution. The different layouts Environment Can be constituted of computers servers (measure of temperature or air corrosion), HVAC system (Electric consumption control and optimization), Industrial Fridge (control of the temperature process and compressor and vanes), Neon fluorescent tube (control of energy consumption) or Satellite (geo-localization). This list is not limiting the possibilities… M2M Zone The M2M zone is mostly constituted of devices (sensors: temperature, pressure, humidity, corrosion, motion; switches to control lighting, GSM device for direct alert management…) able to communicate through networks infrastructure such as ZIGBEE or WIFI (wireless standard in the industry) or through Ethernet connection by IP with gateways (A gateway being a form of small industrial computer with restricted functionalities such as script execution, http connection capacity, SOAP services invocation). A gateway is bi directional it allows to transfer data from internal network to decision application center/control process center (generally web enable) but also allows reception and configuration push to devices. (HVAC command, thermostat regulation…). The first consequence of this infrastructure is to simplify seriously the way that future construction (buildings, facilities) are setup, we all know the economic consequences that cabling have, and this is a major center of cost. It allows also to observe/act/control any kind of processes remotely giving a great flexibility in dispatching responsibilities (Distant supply chain reporting…) Communication Infrastructure zone The economic impact M2M solutions have on this zone is absolutely tremendous. ISP and telecommunication players (services and infrastructure provider) do realize the impact on their activities, in term of bandwidth capacity (great needs for CISCO routers) and business opportunity. The number of iPhone applications has been exploding the last year, more than 2 billion download… We can easily imagine the potential of applications involving geo- localization, manufacturing control processing that can be developed in the next decade… Actually major players are focusing in structuring commercial offers around M2M platforms (Orange-Services, iDigi…). This document is property of www.TopTechies.net all rights reserved. 2009-2010 ©
  4. 4. Web Applications and services We need to distinguish few types here, the web services supporting the devices/gateway communication & interaction and the business applications using the M2M network to propose control processing and services to human. The first type (Interaction/communication) are provided by vendors of M2M devices, iDigi or Insteon have their own way to help the communication and recognition of their gateway and devices to the M2M internally to solution and/or externally. Some are using end user programming interface to setup gateway/devices interaction (Insteon) Some are using lower level programming like third generation Python or C++ language (case of iDigi, EcoNexus). Insteon has adopted an internal project approach, their gateway includes completely the definition of the M2M architecture to deploy in a specific environment and this architecture is restricted to consider a SAAS business vision (Adapted to small projects). iDigi offers a comprehensive network with across network operability capacity, the devices and gateway interaction are web SAAS driven which give opportunity to develop large scale projects. The business or control process applications and services are setup by companies who understand market opportunities (Internet) or industrial players who wants to setup more intelligence into their facilities (Intranet/Extranet). This is about to propose services able to leverage M2M infrastructure to achieve specific goal such as: supply chain optimization, factory process optimization or high return value to customers (B2B or B2C). It is important to underline the final goal of this data chain collection. Data collected needs to be transformed into valuable information for decision. The decision can be a full automated process (In that case we are in a configuration of close loop automation) or the decision to act on the source of the data (Processes run by machine, robot…) is “Humanly” handled. The information can be the final reason for which this chain has been setup. Reporting and Business intelligence solutions are bringing to the M2M environment a master piece of the optimization puzzle, generating stats over RFID merchandize transportation, Energy consumption peak hours and consumption behavior understanding, road traffic optimization, doctors affectation efficiency, Etc… M2H Zone The end user zone, targeting consumers, decision markers, process control manager… The M2H is a new way to touch end consumer by offering them adapted services: medicals, transportation (Taxi services), information (Delivery services), entertainment services (Restaurant, geo-localization dating…), etc. But it’s also a decision zone for manager regarding process observation allowing adjustment on regulation and constraints. From top (Environment zone) to down (End user zone), we are seeing a great diversity of technologies to integrate in a rich ecosystem opening exponential possibilities of solutions. This document is property of www.TopTechies.net all rights reserved. 2009-2010 ©
  5. 5. How far can we go using M2M, M2M2H? We can talk about philosophy in the next hundred pages, it would not help to understand how far we t can go. Therefore through a set of examples we will try to demonstrate in some extend the footprint and the potential complexity of M2M/M2M2H solutions. Moto-Taxi on the run… Who hasn’t be struggling with Taxi in Paris? … hasn I walk in the street and suddenly I realize I am horribly late to my meeting. I do need a solution… A moto Taxi! I pull out of pocket my iPhone, check “myBikes” application sending a request to their services, their web site monitor in real time the location of their driver their because each of them is equipped with an iPhone apps tracker incorporating their status (free/booked). The platform is receiving my geo-localization by satellite. The first Moto-Taxi geo zation Moto available in my closest radius is receiving a message per my request. Meanwhile I receive the name and picture of my driver including the Id of the vehicle. Few minutes later, I was on my way straight to meeting… I will not be late. We almost can consider the Human terminal (smart phone) at that point like a “machine”, this is simple example of merging & convergent services Geo-Localization Geo-Localization Localization Matching Service Tracking info Customer Info Tracking info Taxi Moto Info
  6. 6. Medical services… My patient is diabetic and this is quite stressful to be obliged to check his status every two hours was is his blood sugar level. His results can be communicated directly to a decision center which would dispatch an alert to any available doctors in a specific radius if an anomaly was detected… Geo-Localization Matching Service Euglycemia uglycemia Measurement info Tracking info Doctor Info Patient Info There might be some ethical/security issue to debate regarding such type of applications, we understand it very well, but this is not the subject we would treat as our goal is about to show the diverse possibilities, domains and services to develop. Energy consumption monitoring… monitoring Energy price climbing, is a great generator of idea to shut down the facet of waste in dollar which is leading to solution involving a great example of full and complex M2M2H example. Energy consumption in industrial/enterprise world is linked to business needs (computer, industrial/enterprise lighting, machine, chemistry/ industrial processes) but also to Human behavior. This is a great example of antonymic network Energy and information does not mix easily even thought electrical network is able to carry information with smart plugs. We will leverage in such an example the very powerful capacity such a solution is involving. To control consumption the first necessary thing to do is to assess how, when, where this energy is consumed but a also what needs to be done to solve definitively the problem and how can we anticipate a future defini economy by establishing automated constraints and rules of management but also re re- organizing the way tasks are scheduled to optimize electric supplier contrac contract.
  7. 7. Bathroom Lighting HVAC Server room Thermostat control hermostat Switch Temperature sensor Motion Control Command Control Command Measurement info Status Control Internet Intelligent Gateway Data collection command transfer Alert emission Master constraint scheduler Alert Transfer Business intelligence Consumption analytics SOAP complement platform information services SAAS Registration Constraint Re-adjusting Platform Information Decision
  8. 8. Such architecture is capable to manage efficiently sources of electrical consumption within any enterprise or administration (Appliance type: Lines of Neon tubes, server room, HVAC system, Thermostat…). An SAAS platform is there to describe the appliances, their functional logic groups and the constraints linked to those groups (ex: “I do want to shut down on Friday night 8pm the lighting of all corridors, stairways, lobbies and parking lots” or “if during the week end the temperature is growing suddenly I do want all HVAC to be dropped”, etc). Those constraints are translated into low level programming and pushed to the gateway to master all devices (sending command, asking for measurement data…). Those data are confined into web centric operational database and aggregated every day into data warehouse to support reporting, data analysis and exploration (rollup, slicing, dicing) which is the support for decision making and constraint process review for optimization. Understanding the way electricity is consumed can lead to educational training to get people more responsible people over their behavior (turning off lighting, using low level consumption devices at peak hours), better constraints tuning, appliance replacement anticipation… Smart grid solution can guaranty up to 15% energy saving to major consumers. We know how this can be important especially in a country like USA which hasn’t been able to upgrade their electrical facility provider since Nixon in the 70th.. California is not able to cover 80% of the real energy needs, a part of the solution goes through saving. Supply chain optimization… I am sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Texas and the costume is such that I would see a plate of tacos Chips coming from Fritolay with a bowl of Guacamole and hot sauce… Fritolay has invested billions of dollars to adjust and optimize their supply chain to satisfy the appetite of consumers enjoying a Corona beer. Handset such like iPhone have a major role for non point of sales consumer (Restaurant, Bar), they allow business owner to push a restock order base on a minimum level inventory. Immediately the restock order is pushed into the ERP (supply chain management system) of Fritolay and it triggers a fabrication order. For tracking purpose each row products (flour, spices…) involved in the composition of the Tacos needs to be stored (FDA is very serious on that matter). All along the chain of production we will find sensors registering processing data to be collected into their ERP system and those data will be linked to lots number printed on the pack to be delivered by trucks to point of sales and non point of sales. We might think that trucks delivering into restaurants would be a mistake due to cost of transportation and Fritolay would prefer to push the re-stoking to restaurant owner responsibility. That would be a mistake due to time to market factor. They are optimizing transportation to point of sales and non point of sales (Gas station, Wallgreen pharmacy, Restaurants, Bars, retailers: Wallmarts…). We would not present the graphic of the components involved in detail due the representation size of such a project, but we can easily imagine the number of technologies represented (M2M Data Processing control, ERP, RFID, cell phone App, front end web, database system, Business intelligence solution, data warehouse, logistic optimization)… Would we have imagined that having a beer could trigger such a nasty headache for engineers? This document is property of www.TopTechies.net all rights reserved. 2009-2010 ©
  9. 9. RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES… FINAL CONCLUSION Globally M2M or M2M2H is involving optimization processing and it is just a key piece of major services asking for global business process vision. This can asks for consequent investments in hardware, software, talented human resources and investment capitals. We are at the beginning of this emerging technology and the business potential is absolutely incredible. Nevertheless of the great value it will bring to the society, M2M/M2M2H is going to raise new serious ethic and security issues. Intelligence is link to data processing which means a gate to new strings of viruses or cyber attacks by hackers which consequences can be certainly more dramatic. We can easily imagine Hackers trying to get control of all HVACs located in the Silicon Valley and trigger a major blackout. Let’s not even imagine the consequences when human beings life is involved in the process... A new source of revenue for anti-virus development firm for sure. After all, the worse enemy would be what men are asking machines to execute…