Peggy Smedley, Editorial Director of Connected World Magazine, launched the 2013 Marketing and Sales Summit with a great keynote on M2M and the Internet of Things. As follow up, we asked her for a more detailed look at M2M for our blog readers. Here tis…
It’s all about M2M. And M2M today means servicing the customer. But what exactly is M2M? Connected World magazine, defines it as, “M2M provides machines with the ability to communicate data, connecting people, devices, networks, and everyday objects, while interpreting much-needed information that can be acted upon in a timely manner.”
Some say this is all a B2B story. Others say it is simply a B2C story. Connected World believes it is a technology and connectivity story. A story in which the cars we drive, the homes we live in, the devices and apps we consume, and every interaction we make all have a profound and lasting impact on every other aspect of our lives. Let’s illustrate the point with the example of the home. We have all heard the idea of the connected home, right? You have lighting, security, and automation systems. Now you have connected appliances. Next let’s add in the electronics that we use to get at the data in our homes. We are talking about tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc.
The connected home has obvious consumer appeal. And all of those things are connected inside the home. But what about pausing music of a movie in your living room and picking it back up in your car? Or we add in POS (point-of-sale) transactions that can be made from our tablets in the home. Next we add in the smart-metering infrastructure that is being established in neighborhoods. Or the idea that home health vitals can be monitored in my home and sent to my doctor via the cloud. Suddenly the home becomes a connected hub that has the potential to touch other aspects of the world around us. It’s a world where we all want information. And we want it now.
But with all these great connections, we don’t want them to go down at the wrong time. My connected appliance is no good if I have to call for service. We want ‘Service Before the Customer Sees it Coming.’ And this is where manufacturers are now able to provide the right products, warranties, features, support, buying experience, and service.
Analysis Mason reports the number of device connections worldwide will increase from 100.4 million in 2011 to 2.1 billion by 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 36% during the forecast period. IHS Research adds, by the end of 2013 the worldwide cellular installed base will exceed 6.7 billion. As a result, global shipments of cellular modules for M2M communications will reach more than 60 million by the end of this year. Annual shipments of cellular modules are expected to approach 150 million units by 2017. Simply this is going to continue to be a very vast market that needs to be serviced.
Let’s go back to that idea of the connected home. The idea of a connected home definitely resonates with the average person. But only if presented properly. Energy management, safety and security, convenience; these are the things that the industry should be stressing. Yet, it seems the average person hears that an appliance will become connected and they associate it with being able to tweet. Consumers are not looking for tweeting appliances. But the value social media will bring as a result of M2M?
A new study from ABI Research finds integration with social networks will add significant value to enterprises’ M2M strategies in the coming years. First and foremost, this means internal social channels. Things like Salesforce.com’s “Chatter.” Using a format similar to Facebook, Chatter connects companies internally to increase communication and productivity. Some companies are using it to put machine data into the Chatter. It presents an intriguing intersection between social networks and M2M services. The relationship between the two could become increasingly synergistic.
Here’s another example of Salesforce.com partnering with Axeda and Digi for providing a “social” aspect of M2M with a manufacturer of hot tubs. This company was curious to know how its products were doing in the field. It wanted to trouble shoot issues before a customer even is aware a problem exists.
One, you log into Salesforce.com and it allows you to see data around “conversations” customers are having about their tubs, along with social sentiment. Here you can drill down into problem areas of specific tubs where customers have complaints. Drill down into facts of tubs to ensure it is working as it is supposed to be working.