Tag Archives: M2M

Simplifying Complex M2M/IoT Systems with the Multi-Service Gateway Approach

While many M2M/IoT systems are complex, an environmental monitoring system provides an excellent example for the various sensors and devices that must be combined to create a cohesive M2M/IoT system.  Consider a cloud connected environmental monitoring system with high precision air pollution sensors and real time data access.  The system must be rugged and compact to withstand the elements and designed to monitor traffic, industrial, construction and urban areas for temperature, gaseous pollutants, particulates, electromagnetic fields, radioactivity, and sound pollution.   To add another layer of complexity, the system must be built to seamlessly connect to the cloud and send data from the field to the business application in real time.

The M2M/IoT marketplace is full of hundreds of piecemeal technologies that can be cobbled together from different vendors to form a solution, but the environmental monitoring system is best developed using the Multi-Service Gateway approach (Figure 1).

M2M_IoT_gateway_scheme

Figure 1: Multi-Service Gateways consolidate multiple businessrelevant tasks.

 

A Multi-Service Gateway is ideally suited for the environmental monitoring system to connect sensors, actuators, and meters to the business enterprise. It enables bidirectional communication between the field and the cloud and offers local processing and storage capabilities to provide offline services and near real time management and control of the devices in the field.

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Who said IoT was Expensive & Complex?

One thing’s for sure, it’s not us! Like so many things in life, people just love to complicate things because complexity equals intelligence equals superiority and that makes you ‘better than’ me or something like that. It’s enough to look at the lingo: there are more acronyms in an average IT blog than there are traffic lights in the town where I live. So, for those of us living in the real world, let’s keep this real simple.

Take your average guy running a business or organization anywhere in the world and ask him five questions:

1. Do you want to be more efficient?

2. Would you like to improve your products and services?

3. Are you interested in new business opportunities?

4. Does the ability to move and adapt fast to what your customers want or do hit the right sort of button?

5. Is it interesting to be able to ramp your activity up or down quickly to match what’s going on out there?

On the sound basis that we are not all predictable let’s say that at least 4 of these would get a resounding ‘yes’. So far so good.

But now, you have to explain that in order to reach this nirvana business status one simply needs to ‘connect the machines’. Once connected and all talking in a way we can all catch and use, those self-same machines will provide ‘information’ and it is this that will reveal all those fabulous secrets to future success a bit like the Ten Commandments. At this point one can add that this is called ‘M2M technology’ but that could be a risk particularly because it means almost the same as IoT!

Whenever technology raises its ugly head, implicit of course is that an ‘expert’ is needed or even worse a consultant. It is they that advise that one has to have an ‘infrastructure’ so for example the IT team will be understood by the delivery team. Then of course ‘security’ needs to be built in and we are reminded that companies now are no longer allowed to do A, B or C anymore because some new legislation has just been passed. To cap it all we are reminded that some of the kit currently being used is new and some is old so naturally they’re not communicating well and some aren’t even communicating at all!

Is it any wonder that the eyes of our average guy have glazed over, dollar bills rush across his consciousness like a rampant bull and a glass of water is urgently needed to calm the nerves! So what’s to be done?

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