Most of us think about computers as a means to get information. We use computers, smartphones and tablets to perform various business and personal functions. What we might not think about is all the devices that communicate with one another without human involvement.
Machine to machine communications, known as M2M, continue to emerge. Have you thought about these technology uses? Your car pairs with your smartphone for music, navigation and phone calls; your tablet can change the channel on your TV; and a smartphone can operate your garage door opener, even alerting you when the door is open too long.
Now have you thought about these?
What if the lights in your office could detect a change in your body temperature?
Many of the McDonald’s locations in London and Rome allow customers to order from digital kiosks. What if the kiosk and ad board changed based on your preferences, which it already knew?
What if your new self-driving car knew where to take you because it read it from your electronic calendar? Even more, what if it reminded you that the grocery store and gas station are on the way and that gas is 3 cents a gallong cheaper at Kroger, where you are close to the next level of fuel rewards.
The interconnectivity of all these technologies and the information it provides is due to M2M communications, which is growing as fast as any technology segment today. These machines collect and share massive amounts of data, process it, and provide it to us on our mobile devices.
Geek trivia: Gartner Group says 8.4 billion connected things will be in use in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016.
Home automation is a trending area of M2M communications. Apple, Google, General Electric, Amazon and Microsoft offer products like Homekit, Google Home, Echo and Echo Dot.
Other players include Wink Hub, Nest and Belkin WeMo. Many of these “platform” products follow a protocol that pairs it with complimentary products.
Some say to decide what you want to automate before deciding on a platform. Are you considering automating your doors, turning lights on and off, managing security cameras or monitoring your heating and cooling?
Others claim that the platform is not that important. Why? Your smartphone can control many of these devices through portals and applications.