Emerging Technology: M2M
February 18, 2015
Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is picking up momentum. For those that are unaware of M2M, according to Adrian Bridgwater of Dr. Dobb’s The World of Software Development, “M2M technology is designed to support wired or wireless communication between machines and is used in telemetry, robotics, remote monitoring, status tracking, data collection, remote control, road traffic control, offsite diagnostics, and even in telemedicine applications.” In short, it represents embedded sensors to facilitate real-time analysis of events and data.
According to John Breeden II of GCN, “Although M2M has actually been around since the early days of computing, it has recently evolved to where devices can communicate wirelessly without a human or centralized component.” Currently sensors detect a change in status of something and send data to a central location for an operator to evaluate. John continues “The model for M2M in the future, however, eliminates the central hub and instead has devices communicating with each other and working out problems on their own.” Many M2M devices communicate via wired connections but the ability to communicate over cellular networks, especially if they have an independent power source like a battery for backup, allows the machine to operate independently and without human intervention. But never fear, humans will still need to be in the loop to oversee the different processes and get involved only if there is a problem or communication failure.
This is part of the “Internet of Things” (IoT), or, according to Wikipedia, “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing internet structure. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond M2M and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. The interconnection of these embedded devices (including smart objects), is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields.”
So expect to see continuous improvement in manufacturing process control and real-time optimization of manufacturing production with this new technology. IoT and M2M may be common terms in the manufacturing sector very soon.