It should not come as a surprise to see Google experimenting with various forms of machine-to-machine computing as part of its Google X research lab. After all, Google is all about Internet reach, and there are already billions of embedded systems connected to the Internet in one form or another.
But many of the projects that Google seems to be working on are hardly all that new. M2M stalwarts such as Axeda have been building M2M applications for years, and IBM has made M2M a critical component of its Smarter Planet strategy.
What is changing, says Bill Zujewski, executive vice president of product strategy and marketing, is that the cost of connecting embedded systems on the Internet is dropping rapidly thanks in part to advances in 2G and 3G cellular processor technologies that lower costs and thanks to more aggressive competition among the carriers that provide those services.
So while there are already billions of devices on the Internet, there are still a lot more devices that are not connected to the Internet. But slowly but surely all those devices will be going online in the months and years ahead as the companies that own those devices discover the advantages of M2M computing, especially when it comes service, support and marketing.
In the meantime, Zujewski says that the marketing opportunity is so vast that he expects there will be room for everybody. The more immediate challenge is just getting companies to understand the potential of M2M technologies, which could easily be applied to more applications.