One of the challenges facing IT organizations is how to go about automating the management of remote machines ranging from relatively simple handheld devices to industrial machinery.
While all these devices are getting smarter in terms of having embedded processors and connections to the Internet, building the applications and the systems needed to run them has been a custom development task beyond the reach of most companies.
But one company with an interesting approach to changing the economics of machine-to-machine (M2M) automation is Axeda, which recently made its core M2M technology available as a service that customers can use to deploy relatively simple Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight applications to manage millions of M2M interactions.
According to Brian Anderson, Axeda vice president of marketing, the reason M2M applications have been relatively limited to managing things like remote kiosks is all the custom work involved in setting up the systems. Axeda decided to borrow a page from the cloud computing phenomenon to create an M2M service that can not only deliver software updates, but also just about any type of content using an automated M2M networking framework.
Clearly, large companies such as Amazon and Apple have developed specialized application services around core products such as Kindle and the iPod. What's interesting about the Axeda platform is that a whole host of companies can now think about similar types of innovations using IT outside the office without having to incur the same level of capital IT expense.