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M2M and Internet of Things (IoT)

Machine to Machine (M2M) communications is the networking of intelligent physical objects with information systems. Also known as Internet of Things/Objects connecting the physical world with the Internet. In most situations M2M devices gather and exchange information automatically without human interaction. Typically, M2M solutions involve three main parts: sensing or data-capture, wireless data transport and information management system. Examples include smart (utility) meters communicating with the backend IT infrastructure at the utility company; vending machines communicating with other assets or systems; or connected cars communicating with fixed infrastructure along the highway.

M2M connected objects can be mobile or fixed, e.g., trucks, trains, home appliances, medical devices, displays and cameras. Typical M2M solution includes intelligent sensors and microprocessors embedded in the asset/device, and a wireless communications module that transmits and receives data to and from information management systems. The collected data is then processed and analyzed. The business potential is big as the collected information is useful for improving business processes (e.g., reporting a machine status or breakdown, readings of liquid level in containers, or temperature readings of sensitive materials during shipment) resulting in competitive advantage.

Several wireless technologies (LTE, WiFi, BLE, ZigBee, RFID) can be used to capture and transport the data depending on the specific application. Our experience has shown that usually more than one wireless technology is used in a given application or solution with different wireless technology for data-capture and data-transport (e.g., ZigBee and LTE, RFID and WiFi).

RFID has a great potential to further expand M2M solutions by providing means to connect between machines and physical objects with RFID tag on them. For example, in specimen tracking application in a hospital, RFID tags are affixed to specimen vials that can be tracked using RFID readers with WiFi and RTLS capability. RFID complements 1-D and 2-D barcodes in data-capture applications and provides great design flexibility depending on the specific application (using passive, semi-passive and active tags).  

Consider an example of a smart city where all major information systems (residential, medical, business, governmental and the like) share data, and tiny computers (e.g., RFID, smart cards and sensor-based devices) are built into the houses, streets, bridges and office buildings. Imagine public recycling bins that use radio-frequency identification technology to credit recyclers every time they toss in a bottle; pressure-sensitive floors in the homes of older people that can detect the impact of a fall and immediately contact help; cell-phones that store health records and can be used to pay for prescriptions.

Mobius Consulting has the knowledge and expertise to architect, design and integrate wireless sensing technologies (e.g., RFID, ZigBee, BLE) and broadband access networks (e.g., WiFi, LTE) from the ground up resulting in superior solutions.

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