M2M (machine-to-machine) technology has become essential for many industries to obtain data from their assets and manage their activity. But what exactly is it, and how can satellite services enhance the capabilities of M2M applications?
M2M or machine-to-machine describes any type of technology that supports the exchange of data between networked devices without the need for human intervention. This technology can also independently perform actions, making decisions using machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI).
M2M uses internet connectivity to acquire data from sensors and communicate it via a network to where it is required. The network device can then interpret the data and initiate actions, depending on its programming, by using autonomic computing software.
This method of monitoring assets in remote locations and transmitting performance measurements has been used for decades and has become a valuable tool in industrial settings. However, as communication methods have become more sophisticated, for example, using higher performance wireless technology, M2M communication has become more cost-efficient and used for a broader range of purposes and sectors.
The benefits of M2M
M2M offers companies the ability to monitor and manage their operations remotely and in real-time, which brings a wide range of fantastic benefits, including:
- Faster troubleshooting and reduced downtime, leading to:
- Improved delivery of service to customers
- Minimised cost of maintenance or repair
- Fewer onsite visits, leading to:
- Lower travel costs
- Improved employee safety (where locations maybe remote or hazardous)
- Having required tools and expertise available when onsite visits are required due to an accurate diagnosis of the issue
- Increased business opportunities, with remote management allowing companies to serve a wider area
The role of satellite technology
M2M relies on a high-quality connection to transmit real-time data from the devices. Traditionally, terrestrial networks, such as fibre, broadband and cellular, have been used to provide this connectivity. However, networks can be limited in remote or hard-to-reach areas. Even in well-connected locales, companies may have to stitch several networks together to cover multiple countries. Satellite technology offers ubiquitous coverage and is resilient even in harsh weather conditions.
EchoStar Mobile takes an innovative approach in developing its satellite services, with the goal of offering high-quality connectivity at an affordable rate. As well as our mobile satellite S-band services, we offer our hybrid service, SYNERGY™. This service combines resilient S-band coverage with access to over 125 cellular networks to provide a cost-effective solution for connectivity from dense urban areas to the most remote locations across the UK, Europe and Scandinavia.
Examples of M2M applications
M2M is now used across a wide range of industries, where devices remotely monitor and manage many different applications. Examples include:
In the utilities sector, M2M is used to communicate data to reclosers. These devices act as circuit breakers used on overhead electricity distribution networks to detect and interrupt faults, reducing the area without service. Using M2M to remotely manage reclosers also minimises the time the service is down by restoring power automatically in temporary fault circumstances.
With pipelines often stretching over vast areas, manual monitoring is impractical and costly. M2M offers a remote solution, monitoring aspects, such as flow and pressure, gate and valve status, leaks and abnormal conditions, and troubleshooting issues early.
There have been mandatory energy efficiency regulations in place in the maritime industry for more than a decade now, with emissions controls getting increasingly tighter as the world seeks to combat the climate emergency. M2M technology can leverage monitoring devices to continuously measure vessels’ emission values, ensuring compliance with regulations and contributing to an eco-friendlier future for this industry.
M2M technology delivers immense benefits for many industries, their customers and the wider environment. Many companies that operate assets in remote areas look to satellite services to provide reliable connectivity for their M2M applications. It enables their devices to work seamlessly in regions where cellular coverage is limited and provides a resilient option when encountering harsh weather conditions.