The Internet of Things is growing rapidly. According to Gartner Research there will be about 25 billion connected devices in use by 2020. This trend provides an indication for the increasing role of technologies that enable connection between various devices. M2M (Machine-to-Machine) refers to the development of methods and standards ensuring a location-independent end-to-end communication of gadgets.
Why is M2M so important?
M2M is a basic concept for various new products, services and business areas in nearly all leading industries. From logistics to entertainment services in automobile industry, from remote monitoring in e-health to smart home.
The most relevant M2M trends
In the past, M2M was mostly used to optimize internal business processes. Now companies continuing to advance their strategy. They use the technologies as a basis for innovative customer solutions as well as products and services that generate extra revenue. External target groups are expected to be the main focus of M2M strategies in companies. In light of this, M2M will be seen not as just an IT project but as an innovation spreading across the entire enterprise.
There are more and more companies connecting their M2M applications with big data analytics and cloud platforms. So far the data analysis in M2M projects was hold rather as nice-to-have than a must. However, currently it is about to become an essential part of every M2M solution.
According to Vodafone M2M Barometer Report 2015, the interviewed companies that have invested in M2M are experiencing a strong and rapid return on investment. In order to stay competitive, the M2M technology solution providers have to take this growing complexity into account.
M2M has an enormous potential for retail and marketing. Due to the technology retailers can offer their customers a personalized shopping experience, enhance the attraction of digital payment methods as well as provide more customized information with digital product and shelf labels (NFC tags). It saves labor costs and brings more efficiency to the internal business processes. M2M applications with the main goal to provide better customer services are expected to become a mainstream in various industries.
As a result of the hype about the IoT, in the past things were often connected without offering an added value. Due to the rising market maturity the M2M applications with a low value will disappear. Product and service providers will focus on solutions that create a genuine added value. These include smart metering, energy data management, e-health applications, fleet management and connected cars.
M2M applications will become an integral part of enterprise infrastructure to conduct the day-to-day business. For example, companies will be able to use tracking data from fleet management in their CRM systems. This interoperability allows companies to provide customers with more comprehensive solutions. Providing additional data from other areas as well as better technical interfaces will enable this development.
The main challenge
Despite all the benefits, M2M also provides following points for careful considerations: data protection, privacy and security. Customers must know which data will be collected and used. They must explicitly agree to the data processing. Companies, on their part, must technically ensure that all the data is securely transmitted.