CENTRAVOICE PRODUCTS

Centravoice provides information and communications technology products and
services to customers in Africa, specialising in total communications solutions.

M2M Service
Machine-to-machine, or M2M, is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans.
How M2M works

The main purpose of machine-to-machine technology is to tap into sensor data and transmit it to a network. Unlike SCADA or other remote monitoring tools, M2M systems often use public networks and access methods — for example, cellular or Ethernet — to make it more cost-effective.

The main components of an M2M system include sensors, RFID, a Wi-Fi or cellular communications link, and autonomic computing software programmed to help a network device interpret data and make decisions. These M2M applications translate the data, which can trigger preprogrammed, automated actions.

One of the most well-known types of machine-to-machine communication is telemetry, which has been used since the early part of the last century to transmit operational data. Pioneers in telemetrics first used telephone lines, and later, radio waves, to transmit performance measurements gathered from monitoring instruments in remote locations.

The internet and improved standards for wireless technology have expanded the role of telemetry from pure science, engineering and manufacturing to everyday use in products such as heating units, electric meters and internet-connected devices, such as appliances.

Beyond being able to remotely monitor equipment and systems, the top benefits of M2M include:

  • reduced costs by minimizing equipment maintenance and downtime;
  • boosted revenue by revealing new business opportunities for servicing products in the field; and
  • improved customer service by proactively monitoring and servicing equipment before it fails or only when it is needed.
M2M applications

The main purpose of machine-to-machine technology is to tap into sensor data and transmit it to a network. Unlike SCADA or other remote monitoring tools, M2M systems often use public networks and access methods — for example, cellular or Ethernet — to make it more cost-effective.

The main components of an M2M system include sensors, RFID, a Wi-Fi or cellular communications link, and autonomic computing software programmed to help a network device interpret data and make decisions. These M2M applications translate the data, which can trigger preprogrammed, automated actions.

One of the most well-known types of machine-to-machine communication is telemetry, which has been used since the early part of the last century to transmit operational data. Pioneers in telemetrics first used telephone lines, and later, radio waves, to transmit performance measurements gathered from monitoring instruments in remote locations.

The internet and improved standards for wireless technology have expanded the role of telemetry from pure science, engineering and manufacturing to everyday use in products such as heating units, electric meters and internet-connected devices, such as appliances.

Beyond being able to remotely monitor equipment and systems, the top benefits of M2M include:

  • reduced costs by minimizing equipment maintenance and downtime;
  • boosted revenue by revealing new business opportunities for servicing products in the field; and
  • improved customer service by proactively monitoring and servicing equipment before it fails or only when it is needed.

In telemedicine, M2M devices can enable the real-time monitoring of patients’ vital statistics, dispensing medicine when required, or tracking healthcare assets.

M2M is also an important aspect of remote control, robotics, traffic control, security, logistics and fleet management, and automotive.

M2M security

Machine-to-machine systems face a number of security issues, from unauthorized access to wireless intrusion to device hacking. Physical security, privacy, fraud and the exposure of mission-critical applications must also be considered.

Typical M2M security measures include making devices and machines tamper-resistant, embedding security into the machines, ensuring communication security through encryption and securing back-end servers, among others. Segmenting M2M devices onto their own network and managing device identity, data confidentiality and device availability can also help combat M2M security risks.