Thursday May 10, 2012

M2M Architecture (Guest Post)

Machine to Machine – The Internet of Things – It’s about the Data

by Tim Hardy

There is now no question that we are beginning to use the technology that enables us to connect the ‘things’ that surround us, and to collect data from these ‘devices’ and use that data to improve the information that we have to make decisions. This might be a “pay-as-you-drive” insurance policy based on tracking speed, braking and cornering style, the time of day you tend to drive and the types of road you travel on. “Smart Meters” now provide real-time or near real-time sensors, power outage notification, and power quality monitoring as well as just meter reading. Shipping containers can not only be tracked but monitored for security through sophisticated blending of sensor feeds. Buildings –data centers for example – can provide data on not just temperature and humidity for environmental efficiency control, but also vibrations to support other uses such as disk failure prevention. All this information can be used to improve processes such as maintenance and supply chain operations. Growth of these devices is significant, and this means more software needs writing to run on them, more capability needs programming into them, and more data needs processing and analysing. One of the fastest growing areas of healthcare is remote patient monitoring, especially for chronic disease management. A remote sensor gathers source data (blood pressure, heart rate, blood levels, sleep patterns), and it is collected at the data center. The data is then analyzed and acted upon. In this scenario, reaction time is important, and ‘transactions’ cannot be lost.

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