Whether they're Fuel Price signs, Electronic Billboards, in-store Monitors, or Scrolling LED Displays, digital signs can deliver targeted messages to specific locations at specific times. GSM radios allow the content to be easily updated from anywhere in the world. With support for SMS Text Messaging the viewer can interact with the display, posting messages or requesting information directly from the sign.
Vending machines can be a cost-effective form of distribution (the U.S. vending market took in over $30 Billion in 2007), but only if they are working properly and have products in them. Machines equipped with GSM radios can notify distributors what the current inventory is, ensuring that the driver always brings the required merchandise. This increase efficiency and reduces overhead. GSM equipped machines can also notify service personnel when a problem is detected, decreasing down-time and increasing customer satisfaction. For high-end vending machines that sell products like iPods, DVD's and other expensive items, M2M can also be use for payment processing and verification. These systems can use the cellular network to connect to back-end systems to process credit card information and manage inventory.
Every day millions of packages are shipped all over the world - millions of packages that need to be tracked. Cellular based M2M communications enables shippers to provide real-time information on the delivery status of packages they are handling. Combined with GPS, this technology allows them to provide the exact location of any package to the shipper and receiver via the web, email or text messaging. This can be invaluable for the shipment of expensive items like vehicles, electronics, and other durable goods.
While most of the developed world has become a cashless society, and the amount of cash most individuals carry has decreased over the years, there are still plenty of situations where only cash will do. To fuel that need, Automated Teller Machines have begun to appear outside of traditional banking institutions. They can be found in malls, convenience stores, and corner grocery stores. Cellular networks provide a way for these machines to communicate with back-end systems for performing transactions, monitoring the ATMís for security, and the tracking the amount of cash on hand.
Any industry that uses mobile equipment can benefit from M2M, but the construction industry has been an early-adopter of the technology. GSM based systems can be used to verify that equipment is at the proper location, track usage hours, and monitor vital parameters like hydraulic and air pressure. And in the event of equipment theft, M2M systems can aid in recovery. Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has been a leader in this field. Their EquipmentManager and Product Link products gather data from onboard computers and send that data wirelessly to a customerís computer. This data can be used to improve machine productivity and identify service issues before they cause equipment failure.
Providing access to buildings and homes from a remote location typically requires installers to run cables to connect to existing phone or data lines. GSM radios eliminate that need and slash installation costs. Whether for a private residence, an apartment/condo, or a commercial building, GSM based access control can provide features that other systems can't. For example, when access is requested the PIN can be verified on a remote server allowing updates to be made without visiting the site. Also, the server can log access requests allowing the operator to have immediate access to the information.
Farming is an old-world business that is benefiting from modern technology. Water shortages coupled with increased demands for crops have lead farmers to look for ways to increase yields, decrease water usage and cut costs. Farmers are using sensors and wireless systems to monitor factors that effect crop health including weather, insects and molds, fertilizer and pesticide dispersion, soil temperature, soil nutrients and soil moisture. It's estimated that the global market for wireless monitoring of crops is over $75 Billion. Using these systems, farmers can see a 30% decrease in water usage and a 20% increase in crop yield.
Whether the application is a mall kiosk, a mom-and-pop store or a larger retail store M2M communications can be used to manage inventory, process payments and schedule the deliver of goods. For businesses that lack a storefront or that are mobile, GSM is the perfect answer for connecting salesman with back-end systems allowing orders to be be entered, processed and managed in real time.
Businesses that rely on fleet vehicles can utilize GSM-based M2M systems to improve efficiency, increase productivity and reduce their overall transportation costs. These systems can monitor a vehicleís location, speed, mileage, and environmental and mechanical conditions. Refrigerated trucks can signal back-end systems when cargo temperatures are out-of-range, before the quality of the goods is affected. Data from onboard computer systems can provide real-time mileage, fuel usage and scheduling data.
The health and safety of our loved ones is paramount to us. Whether they're our children or our parents, M2M systems can help us keep them safe. GPS equipped systems can track the location of children and those with impairments like Alzheimers or dementia and aid in their recovery if they are lost or kidnapped. Body sensor monitors (BSN) employ wearable sensors to monitor vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, or blood glucose levels and notify care givers or health care providers if something is wrong. Elderly, or health compromised individuals, that live alone can benefit for Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) systems. These systems use a network of sensor placed around the home to monitor the person's activity. These include motion sensors, door and window switches, and panic buttons. The care giver can set rules for activity, such as when the person can leave the home or what time they should awake, and the system can send a notification if the rules aren't met. Using GSM radios, these systems can send Text messages, Emails, or place a phone call to connect the care giver to the person through a speakerphone.
GSM-based devices can are seeing huge growth in the recreation market. Combined with GPS they can provide location information in real-time. They can be used to map trails, record the path taken by athletes or vehicles, or track hikers positions. This combination (GSM & GPS) can act as a self-updating Moving Geocaching device that updates the GPX file automatically using the GSM network.
Vehicle M2M applications, also know as telematics, can be used for turn-by Ėturn navigation, remote vehicle diagnostics, anti-theft and vehicle tracking, and communications with emergency services. General Motorís OnStar system was an early adopter of vehicle M2M having launched the service in 1996 on the Analog Cellular system. Digital systems like GSM support improved coverage, better reception and a higher level of security for these applications.
Traditional security systems, for both homes and businesses, use wire-line phone systems to notify of a security breach. In the event the phone connection is severed, either due to weather or an intruder cutting the phone line, the system is useless. Wireless systems based on GSM radios don't have this problem as signals can be sent even when wire-line service is not available. GSM based systems also provide more flexibility in contacting home and business owners as well as the security service provider. Property owners want the ability to easily check on the property and monitor the status of various sensors when they are not on the premises. They also don't want to wait for a call from the security service when an alarm goes off, but prefer to be notified by the system. With the popularity of cell phones, PDA's and other portable devices owners can receive text messages or Emails when an alarm is activated.
In an effort to conserve energy and reduce the need to build more power plants, governments are passing regulations that aim to control home and business electic power usage. When the demand for electricity becomes high, such as on hot humid days, power companies need to either increase electric power generation or reduce comnsumption by its customers. Increasing power production can lead to an increase in green house gases and other pollution, so most operators opt to reduce consumption. Traditionally this has been accomplished with rolling-blackouts where select customers have their power shutoff. This can cause lost production and revenue for businesses and affect the health of the elderly and infirmed. Consumers who volunteer to reduce their consumption during peak hours can earn rewards by having electric rate reduced. And M2M systems can help by connecting appliance to the network and allowing the utility company to shut off equipment like pool pumps, water heaters, air conditioners and hot tubs for short periods. A research project of the U.S. Dept. of Energy found that consumers are also more likely to reduce electricity consumption when they receive real-time pricing information from the utility company. On average, consumers save about 10% on their electric biils.
A survey by market research firm IDC indicates that more than 50% of consumers have a desire to control or monitor their homes. Using portable devices like cell phones and PDA's they can turn lights on or off, set the temperature of the hot tub, change heating and cooling temperatures, change irrigation settings, and monitor sensors such as fire, flood and security. This can be done using Text messages, Email, or touch-tones generated by their phone's keypad. These can be stand-alone systems or they can be combined with security systems
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications - it conjures up images from science fiction movies like Terminator or iRobot. Images of self-aware computers
hell bent on taking over the world. But the reality of M2M is even more fascinating - millions upon millions of devices collecting information
and relaying it to us. Information that helps us make better decisions, reduce overhead, lower energy consumption and improve our lives. Machines
that we can control from anywhere in the world - even in remote locations. That is the fascinating reality of Machine-to-Machine
communications. Just take a look below at some promising applications for M2M
Place your mouse over any image for a description of that application
In addition to the consumer and industrial demands, governments around the world are pushing the use of M2M. United States" President Obama has
promised to spend billions of dollars on Smart Grid technology, Brazil has passed regulations that requires all new vehicles to
include tracking capabilities, and France is crafting legislation that will require all electric power meters to be Smart Meters.
And no technology holds more promise for M2M communications than GSM Cellular. GSM is a form of cellular radio communications that
uses existing cell phone networks. With millions of cell towers around the world, the ability to communicate wirelessly, low power
requirements and an international set of standards, GSM will be the pervasive M2M technology.
The Machine-to-Machine revolution has started, and you can be part of it. Whether you"re a Professional Engineer looking to develop
products for your company, an Entrepreneur hoping to make your fortune with a new idea, or a Hobbyist that wants to make his
own gadgets, we"re here to help you. We've been developing M2M applications for more than a decade and we have all of the tools to
help you get your GSM project to market quickly. We can provide Radio Modules, PC Boards, Development Kits, Tutorials, Software
and more - at discounted prices, less then anyone else on the planet. Through our design division, Software Concepts, we can also
handle your complete project; from design through production. For more information visit: