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The Future is Here - M2M, Robotics and Mobile Devices

by Kevin Benedict

April 4, 2012

Fort Leonard Wood (a US Army base) had a ribbon cutting ceremony today for their new Robotics University.   These robots do amazing tasks that save lives.  They conduct some of the most dangerous tasks such as identifying and disabling IEDs (improvised explosive devices). 

I recently read several books about the use of robots in the military and one of the robotics engineers was quoted as saying he loves receiving broken pieces of his robots in the mail.  Why?  Each broken, burned and exploded robot represents a potentially saved human life.

On this blog along with content about enterprise mobility, I write a lot about M2M (machine to machine), wireless embedded devices and remote sensors.  These are all fields and technologies closely related to enterprise mobility.  Each of the robots in the picture above communicates with and is controlled by wireless mobile devices.  These robots are machines controlled by machines (M2M) that use the Internet to communicate in real time. 

Robots and remote M2M sensors are also data collectors.  They are collecting data in the field and sending the data back to a server for analysis and use in decision making.  At the server, analytics and intelligence software process this information, often in real time.

In the commercial sector, M2M sensors are often used to track and monitor assets, equipment, materials, cargo and supplies.  In fact, companies like ILS Technology partner with SAP, Oracle, IBM and many other ERP vendors to connect M2M devices to ERPs.  The data that comes in from these remote sensors will become increasingly valuable and important to companies.

There are many jobs and tasks that use humans inefficiently or in dangerous environments.  I regularly hear examples of how a person is sent to a remote site just to record and write down data from a piece of equipment in the field.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago I had dinner in Portland, Oregon with an engineering friend who was monitoring water levels in a Puget Sound tidal flat.  They hired a contractor just to drive out to the remote site several times a week for thousands of dollars in order to write down the recorded water levels.  I shared with him the capabilities of remote wireless sensors and he was very keen to utilize them on future projects.

I spoke with the Chief Customer Officer of ILS Technology, Lawrence Latham yesterday.  Lawrence says they spend their time connecting all of the disparate components of M2M systems together and simplifying their implementations so more companies can cost effectively take advantage of them.

Companies like SAP talk about, "Managing the Real Time Enterprise."  Managing a real-time enterprise will increasingly involve connecting devices or things to the internet.  ILS Technology's motto is "We Connect The Internet of Things."

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Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Visit MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the SAP Enterprise Mobility and Sybase Unwired Platform Groups
Read The Mobility News Weekly
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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