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Redbox, M2M and Mobile SAP Micro-Apps

M2M is not only a cool acronym, kind of James Bond like, but a very interesting category in the wireless industry

M2M is not only a cool acronym, kind of James Bond like, but a very interesting category in the wireless industry.  M2M in this context means machine-to-machine wireless connectivity.  A few other terms that describe this category are "the Internet of Objects" or the "Internet of Things."  All of these terms relate to machines that can talk or exchange data with other machines via wireless connectivity.

One strange example that I wrote about a few months ago was a bathroom scale that would wirelessly tweet your body weight to your Twitter list every time you weighed yourself.  The scale, a machine, was collecting data and sending it automatically via a wireless connection to another machine (server).

A recent example that I found particularly interesting was Redbox.  These are the DVD rental kiosks that we see everywhere now days. Did you know that Redbox machines are M2M enabled?  You can go to the Redbox website, find a kiosk near you that has a movie you want and reserve it online.  You can also use their micro-app for iPhones to find a movie in a kiosk near you and rent it.

A quick digression - look for a large number of new mobile micro-apps to be announced at SAP's Sapphire event in May.  Companies like Vivido Labs and Sky Technologies, and many others, will be releasing many new mobile micro-apps for iPhones, BlackBerrys, Android and other OSs.  These are typically small, one purpose or business process, mobile apps that are integrated with SAP.

Here in Boise, Idaho there is a local success story involving M2M with a company called Telemetric.  Here is their description:  Telemetric provides wireless remote monitoring and control of equipment and machinery using cellular networks.  We provide solutions that enable electric, water and gas utilities and their customers to measure, monitor and control usage of valuable resources.  Our solutions improve system efficiency, asset management, speed up responses to service interruptions and equipment problems, and automate reporting functions resulting in lower operating costs and more reliable service.

Telemetric develops monitoring equipment that measures and reports wirelessly to other machines.  Managers can watch dashboards and see the measurements from remote equipment.

The bottom line is that field data collection does not always require a person with a ruggedized handheld computer to be traveling around collecting data. High value assets and equipment can be set-up with monitoring devices that report their status to other machines and servers that can be programmed to do certain things based upon the data coming in.  I am now writing a new analyst report on M2M to be released in June 2010.

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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.