For years, M2M was an under appreciated and rarely-discussed "emerging" industry. Now that M2M has a larger presence in the media, trade shows and in many business circles, basics about the technology and market are common knowledge. M2M is probably best known as a solution for fleet management applications. Recently, several stories have covered how package delivery companies save time and money by avoiding left-hand turns and how plumbing companies use M2M and telematics to make sure that their workers are actually on the job - not just spending their days hanging around coffee shops.
However, M2M actually has many far-reaching uses that touch our daily lives that we may not even realize. Here are three applications of M2M technology that you may not be aware of:
M2M Keeps Vending Machines Running Smoothly
If you've ever used a Redbox movie vending machine, you may have noticed that it verified your account and charged your card in a matter of seconds. Next time, look at the top or back of the machine, and you'll see a small antenna transmitting and receiving wireless (M2M) data. Other vending machines also use M2M, informing warehouses when more Diet Coke is needed in a given machine and even helping to locate and track a machine if it's stolen.
M2M Helps Make Payment Processing Easy
Countless numbers of credit card fraud incidents happen in restaurants when the card is taken from the table to somewhere behind the scenes. Now, wireless M2M-powered payment devices are used right at the dining table, empowering customers with full visibility of their card at all times. M2M technology-enabled taxi cabs and pizza delivery drivers are now also using such devices for convenience and security (How better to protect a taxi driver than to advertise they accept credit cards and are carrying a limited amount of cash in the vehicle?). Wireless M2M technology also led to the advent of portable ATM units. Now, small ATM kiosks can be staged at outdoor carnivals, county fairs and concerts, with critical financial data transmitted securely over wireless M2M networks.
M2M Saves Lives
Perhaps the most significant and life-changing usage of M2M technology is within the healthcare industry. The "mHealth" sector of M2M is the fastest-growing and most closely watched due to the life-saving benefits it enables. CTIA, the Wireless Association, recently cited a Parks Associates report that predicts the wireless home health market will grow to an astonishing $4.4 billion in 2013. Using wireless M2M technology, medical devices can break free from wires, and homebound patients are able to literally travel the world while still reporting diagnostics to their healthcare providers.
M2M continues to gain visibility as consumers and businesses begin to appreciate the added productivity, efficiency and cost-saving benefits that this technology has to offer. M2M is surely a technology that impacts our daily lives, whether we realize it or not.
By Felix Chuang, Senior Product ManagerFelix Chuang is Senior Product Manager at KORE Telematics, an industry leader in the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) wireless market. He has more than fifteen years of experience in the Internet and wireless industries in a broad range of roles such as product management, business development, and operations. He is currently focused on the KORE Global Connect product line, which provides a single SIM for M2M network service in 180+ countries and 230+ carriers.He can be found on twitter at: @felixc and KORE Telematics can be found at: @koretelematics