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Machines that speak attent sbn_large_7

  1. 1. F O R C U S T O M E R S O F AT & T F R O M T i M E i n C . C O n T E n T S O l U T i O n S Managing growTh in enTerpriSeS: SenSor-baSed neTworking Machines That Speak Using wireless networks, assets and inventory tell you where they are—and what they need. Your truck wants to talk to You. so too does your metal stamper. Ditto for the office copy machine. while you’re at it, you might want to take a look at that message from the warehouse. It’s from a pallet. science fiction? Hardly. advances in wire- less technology and communications have sud- denly given voice to a once-silent drone: the business machine. new systems, known collec- tively as machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless networks, are transforming everyday devices into never-blinking sentinels that provide both information and insight. M2M wireless networks supply data about virtually anything—temperature, moisture in transit, in warehouses or on retail shelves, wireless identification technology helps companies monitor and manage goods traveling in all directions. levels, pressure, vibration—in fractions of a second. the technology, which links remote sensors and computers into wireless communications networks, that incorporate unique communications protocol. Help is on the enables businesses to track moving and stationary assets and in- way, however. the M2MXMl Project, an open-source initiative, is ventory. “sensors embedded inside a truck, for instance, can re- working on an open-standard XMl-based protocol for M2M com- lay information on the truck’s location, fuel consumption, engine munications. several device vendors have embraced M2MXMl, status and the temperature and humidity of its cargo,” says tobias and a Java aPI is already available. and with advances and stan- ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight, a specialist in M2M business dardization in the protocols, as well as tags and radio-frequency intelligence based in Gothenburg, sweden. identification (rFID) readers, the scale and prices have reached a the biggest roadblock facing enterprises planning an M2M sys- point where use of the technology for asset tracking and locationMasterfile tem is the absence of a universal communications standard. this services is feasible. means that most current M2M applications are custom projects combining the power of active rFID technology, location-based <
  2. 2. Managing growTh in enTerpriSeS: SenSor-baSed neTworking Machine Shop M2M is clearly no fad. Worldwide shipments of wireless M2M modules will likely more than triple by 2011. are hitting on an increasing number of uses for the net- works. Many have discovered that the technology can be Number of modules shipped deployed across a range of monitoring applications. 20,970,000 2007 when attached to engines and other types of mechan- ical systems, sensors can detect and help diagnose prob- lems as they occur. that’s crucial for outfits with large 25,600,000 2008 fleets, such as shipping and transportation companies. Placed on refrigerated trucks and in storage rooms, sen- sors can guard against sudden changes in temperature— 32,970,000 2009 pivotal for food, flower and pharmaceutical companies. In warehouses, wireless M2M-enabled location- 44,990,000 2010 monitoring systems track the flow of items. this not only speeds the delivery of merchandise but also lets companies cut down on buffer stock. 61,940,000 2011 these remarkable sensor networks also can be used Source: Berg InSIght, “WIreleSS mm and moBIle BroadBand devIceS,” feBruary 007 to remotely supervise stationary assets, such as water pumps, power generators and fuel tanks. as ryberg notes, M2M wireless networks can be installed insoftware and wi-Fi lan networking, M2M services are ideal for hours in places where it could take months to set up more con-enterprises that are investing in wireless campus lans and need to ventional wired networks.improve the utilization and management of critical assets within that Indeed, one of the chief attractions of the technology is that itenvironment. Managers at global businesses are starting to grasp the allows managers to keep tabs on items that can be expensive to mon-unlimited potential of M2M systems. according to research published itor in a more traditional way. auction houses, for example, have de-by Berg Insight (“wireless M2M and Mobile Broadband Devices,” ployed M2M networks to provide 24/7 surveillance, a much cheaperFebruary 2007), worldwide shipments of M2M modules reached close and effective alternative to hiring security 21 million units in 2007. By 2011, Berg Insight predicts, M2M ship-ments will come close to 62 million units. while manufacturers were early champions of the systems, M2M “There aren’t very manynetworks are now attracting interest from a wide array of business-es. “the technology has developed a very broad scope,” notes Joe organizations that won’tBarkai, practice director of product life-cycle strategies at Manu- benefit from this technology.”facturing Insights, an IDc company and business advisory firmin Framingham, Mass. “there aren’t very many organizations that Turned Offwon’t benefit from this technology in one form or another.” while M2M networks automate tasks once handled by humans, the systems don’t set themselves up—at least not yet. carefulSensors Working Overtime planning is the first and most essential step in designing an M2MM2M networks are versatile. as the technology evolves, businesses system, Barkai says. He notes that it’s crucial to define a project’s
  3. 3. Managing growTh in enTerpriSeS: SenSor-baSed neTworking goals at the outset and to plan accord- ingly. “You have to know what you want to achieve,” he cautions, “and whether you will be automating a manual pro- cess, enhancing an existing M2M process or creating something entirely new.” the Manufacturing Insights survey found that close to half of the respon- dents relied on an M2M network to au- tomate a manual process. Interestingly, though, about 28% said they used the technology to put a new process in place, and 26% indicated M2M systems helped them enhance an existing process. A mobile business world can depend on machine-to-machine wireless networks to track all of the moving parts. one such process: turning off equip- ment. Experts note that some busi- nesses rely on the technology as a virtual nervous system that ferent setting, in order to adapt to changing conditions,” says automatically shuts off electronic controls. “Machines located raghu Das, cEo of IDtechEx, an rFID market analysis firm in almost anywhere can be switched on or off, or moved to a dif- cambridge, England. Moisture sensors placed in a farm field, for example, can alert a remote computer that conditions are dry enough to Device Drivers Deployers of wireless M2M networks said the systems generate all begin systematic watering. In the transportation sector, M2M sorts of business improvements. These include: wireless technology enables companies to send a long-distance kill-switch command to a sensor located inside the engine of a Regulatory Compliance stolen truck or vehicle. 16% such innovative approaches, however, require careful inte- New Source of Revenue gration of M2M wireless technology with existing It systems 24% and applications. “You want to select a technology that will be Improved Asset Monitoring compatible with whatever you are currently using,” advises sam 56% lucero, a senior M2M analyst at aBI research, a technology ad- Lower Costs visory service headquartered in oyster Bay, n.Y. “compatibility 67% is an area that should be examined very closely.” Das suggests that enterprises begin by experimenting with Improved Customer Service the technology in limited deployments, particularly in nonbusi- 78% ness critical areas. “that way,” he says, “you can test variousMasterfile Source: manufacturIng InSIghtS, an Idc company, “mm maturIty and InduStry adoptIon approaches, learn the ropes and get ready for the larger, more manufacturIng InSIghtS and mm magazIne InduStry Benchmark Survey,” july 007 complex implementations that will surely follow.”