M2M: The Future Is Here

Carl Weinschenk

Machine-to-Machine, nicknamed “the Internet of Things,” probably by a marketer who was a literature major in college, is similar to Google Glass and other nascent technologies in an important way: They all have clear and obvious potential and, at the same time, raise what can be best described as existential fears of a world too controlled by and dependent upon technology.

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M2M’s Disruptive Momentum Revealed

This is the inescapable good news/bad news duality that has been a part of technical innovation from the invention of the ability to harness fire to nuclear energy and beyond. The reality for both those who fear and those welcome M2M – or those who are neutral – is that it is here.

Indeed, it has been for a good deal of time, but activities seem to be accelerating.

AT&T is investing in a couple of foundries to create M2M applications. They will be in Atlanta and Plano, Texas, according to CRN. The Atlanta facility will focus on home security and automation services offered by the carrier’s Digital Life unit. The story did not offer specifics about the intended use of the Plano facility.

Microsoft previewed the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry system. The company said that the new system aligns with the tools used for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 such as Visual Studio, XAML, Expression Blend, the .NET framework and others. In other words, Microsoft aims to make it easier for developers to write applications that include M2M.

Sprint announced that it is working with mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) M2M DataSmart on creating an open access environment for data and network services. The goal, according to Telecom Engine, is to make it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to commercialize their M2M ideas. The target of the move, as in Microsoft’s introduction of Windows Embedded 8.1, is the developer community.

Novatel Wireless this week introduced the MT 3060, which it describes as an “integrated, system-level solution” capable of collecting and controlling vehicle data. It can, the release says, reliably send the data to the cloud. The release provides details on the product, including the Novatel technology that manages the new system.

M2M remains a massive and amorphous category that primarily serves as an underlying foundation for sectors such as home automation and fleet management. Huge questions and issues remain. ZDNet’s Larry Dignan put it this way:

Machine to machine connections, also known as the Internet of Things, sit in the intersection of cloud computing, big data and mobility and could be a game changer for many industries. However, the M2M ecosystem is young and a lot of data management needs to happen before the technology delivers real returns.

Dignan highlighted 10 questions and outstanding issues from a panel presented by ZDNet, TechRepublic and CBS Interactive in late June. The points range from general issues such as where the technology is in its development curve to specific and vital questions, such as how to secure and maintain compliance in M2M environments.

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