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Growth of M2M continues, proves relevance to the workplace

Growth of M2M continues, proves relevance to the workplace

10/30/2013

If the now-indisputable growth of BYOD wasn't enough to convince you that your smartphone or tablet is relevant to the workplace, developments in machine-to-machine (M2M) technology - solutions that enable mobile and other devices to communicate remotely with each other - might win you over.

In a recent post for Crain's Detroit Business, Eric Spadafora pointed out the wide array of possibilities for M2M technology in enterprise and business settings. A VGo robot could be controlled by a tablet to ensure the safety of workers in chemical plants, for example, while health care professionals are already using cloud storage-capable mobile devices to monitor and record patients' changing health conditions, Spadafora noted.

The benefits of M2M aren't limited to such specialized uses, however. Rather, the capabilities of the technology are widely applicable.

"Any business that has the need to monitor something can benefit from M2M technology," Spadafora wrote.

M2M technology and the mobile workforce
With the range of benefits that M2M solutions offer companies, the market for the technology has continued to expand. Report Linker recently announced that a new study available in its database showed growth in all sectors worldwide in 2012.

According to the study, shipments of cellular M2M devices increased by 15.2 percent last year, with a record total of 54.9 million M2M mobile devices in use by an estimated 134.9 subscribers. Furthermore, the technology is already beginning to become well-established in some industries, with a larger portion of M2M shipments now belonging to replacements of older devices.

The report predicted that this growth would only continue in the foreseeable future. Between 2013 and 2018, the M2M market is expected to grow 24.4 percent annually, with M2M cellular connections reaching 489.9 million by the end of that time period.

The technology continued its march into the mainstream recently as two major companies announced a partnership in M2M solutions development: AT&T and GE will be joining forces to create a machine-to-machine communications network that will allow employees to virtually track, monitor and operate GE equipment from any remote location, the two companies said.

The system will use AT&T's 4G LTE network to connect mobile devices to GE vehicles and machinery - engines, electronic vehicle chargers, you name it - and will also support cloud access.

AT&T Business Solutions CEO Andy Geisse expressed real excitement about the partnership.

"Imagine a world where an airline for example can remotely monitor, diagnose and resolve issues with its fleet engines virtually anywhere in the world," said Geisse.

GE Software's Vice President and Corporate Officer Bill Ruh highlighted that connecting his company's machines to the network and the cloud would allow for greater productivity and efficiency across industries worldwide and assured customers that the platform would be highly secure.

With such a bright outlook for the future of M2M, it's hard not to take part in the excitement. The impressive functions the technology enables mobile devices to perform mean that your smartphone or tablet can become even more useful that you thought. You might consider further ensuring that your device will be there for you to reap the benefits of M2M with one of ProtectCELL's mobile protection plans, which provide security in addition what mobile phone insurance offers.

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