M2M Device Networking: Transforms decision-making to a science.
Enabling New Possibilities for Preventive Maintenance
By Marty Huff
Today, most businesses rely on networks for sharing information among
employees and customers. Yet this is only a small piece of the information that
can be shared. Machines and appliances - essentially any electronic or
electro-mechanical device with a sensor, controller or microprocessor - contains
a great deal of information about its status, performance and usage.
The ability to extract raw data from a device, machine or appliance and
convert that data into useful information transforms the decision-making from an
art to a science. You can now leverage Internet, Wi-Fi and Celluar technologies
to relay information anywhere, anytime. This unique combination of factors has
converged into a powerful new paradigm known as M2M (machine-to-machine,
machine-to-man and machine-to-mobile). M2M constitutes the next notable phase
in preventive maintenance, a phase that opens up a whole new world of
- The ability to know the status of a piece of equipment no matter where you
are, by having alerts sent to a web browser, PDA, pager or cell phone.
- The potential to know which part needs repair or replacement before you
dispatch a technician, which can save time and money.
- Enhanced tools that provide the ability to analyze and track a machine's
history, in order to spot trends and more accurately predict maintenance
requirements well in advance.
- For those industries such as wastewater, where accurate regulatory
reporting is key, M2M strategies can create and deliver periodic reports
automatically and help reduce the likelihood of fines.
For example, a central server can monitor several remote cell phone towers
via the Internet. Let's say the beacon light on one of the towers fails. The
application running on the server recognizes the failure which triggers a local
alarm, sends an email alert over the Internet to the FCC, and forwards a cell
phone message to a technician. At that point, the technician can browse to a Web
page through a Web-enabled cell phone in order to acknowledge the alarm and
enter an estimated time for the repair. Knowing at this point the nature of the
repair, the technician responds with the correct parts in hand to repair the
light. To top it off, all of this information can be made available to an
enterprise software application or authorized company staff.
Using simple plug-and-play modules, you can now connect devices directly into
legacy systems and create peer-to-peer device networks, even with many types
of equipment that have overlooked in the past. In many cases, it is possible
to connect to a single machine and gain access to a majority of facilities
With M2M device networking, intelligent devices, however remote, are capable
of relaying data and sending alerts, alarms, and commands to cell phones, PDAs,
databases and other intelligent devices. Devices can also be
"Web-enabled" and accessible using a standard Web browser. This
article outlines the components required for an M2M system, demonstrating how
easy it is to implement an enhanced maintenance management system with just a
few basic requirements. For OEM's, an M2M system can provide an incredible
opportunity to provide enhanced customer service and distinguish their products
from the competition.
There are basically four components in an M2M system: 1) the intelligent
device (machine or appliance) where the data originates, 2) the gateway that
extracts and translates data, 3) the network which serves the data and 4) the
remote client which ultimately receives the data. M2M software applications are
optional but can facilitate communications, enable Web access and provide the
Please See the following pages to continue with this Preventive
Maintenance Technology Article...
Device: Where The Data Originates
The Gateway: Translates and Passes The Data To The Network
The Network: The Connectivity That Serves Data To The Remote Client
Client: The Destination Of The Information
|Marty Huff - MSI
About the Author: Marty Huff is an IT professional with MSI
Tec and can be reached directly at 720-875-9835 or by email at
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. MSI Tec is a provider of intelligent machine
control components and systems, and the value adding engineering
resources for the successful identification and implementation of
Marty is responsible for M2M systems design, programming and
installation and is available for dedicated training programs and
seminars on the subject of M2M.
Don Fitchett, Business
Industrial Network, contributor to this article.