Today, Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technology is becoming truly ubiquitous, touching our lives in countless imaginable ways. From the latest connected cars with advanced driver assistance to intelligent future workplaces, M2M is transforming everyday devices into smart, new innovations, bringing in tangible social and economic benefits to consumers and businesses alike.
M2M is also an important driver for the Internet of Things (IoT). It has evolved considerably over the years, initially from backend automation and remote monitoring in manufacturing, energy and utilities to more consumer-focused applications for automotive and retail. As an example, chain stores can now serve customised ads to existing customers near their outlets, directly to connected cars and mobile devices anytime and anywhere, leveraging on a wealth of information gathered by M2M. With the rising popularity of IoT, M2M is set to revolutionise businesses with unprecedented connectivity and insights.
According to Gartner, we're still just scratching the surface on the potential of IoT. That's because the total number of connected devices is expected to leapfrog significantly, from around 4.9 billion by the end of this year to a staggering 25 billion units in 2020. Just imagine the endless possibilities with such a huge ecosystem of smart devices, appliances and vehicles.
Opportunities abound across a slew of verticals
For governments across the world, meeting public healthcare, security and transportation needs and expectations is increasingly difficult due to the finite resources. This is likely just a tip of the iceberg, particularly for emerging countries and many rapidly ageing populations.
Thankfully, modern smart cities are able to rise to the challenge via IoT technology, thus ensuring sustainable growth and development. At Songdo in South Korea, everything from the environment to traffic flow is closely monitored by millions of wireless sensors. Intelligent systems such as the fully autonomous waste disposal system are truly becoming the heart of this smart city by achieving a whole new level of efficiency and standard of living. Meanwhile on the corporate front, companies can either embrace IoT or risk being left behind in the new information age. By marrying IoT with big data and advanced analytics, their stakeholders stand to gain unparalleled access to invaluable market data and insights. These are delivered in real time, too, empowering enterprises to make informed decisions as events unfold, in an otherwise unpredictable and highly competitive business landscape.
Already, M2M is reinventing and simplifying the way businesses operate for a wide range of industries, including retail services, smart energy, automotive and logistics. For instance, the latest M2M asset tracking and fleet management solutions give transport operators newfound visibility of their vehicles and goods, across the entire supply chain to minimise shipment delay, fuel consumption and carbon emission.
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