gateway that connects to the Internet.
The Internet connection contacts a
remote server that contains the
application software. Then, the
monitoring device (like a laptop,
tablet, or smartphone) makes an
Internet connection to the server to
complete the service. Data is then
captured and displayed, stored, or
some control commands are issued.
All devices are assigned an Internet
Protocol (IP) address.
One of the earliest applications
of M2M was to monitor the location
and condition of trucks and fleet cars.
These vehicles were equipped with
GPS receivers that transmitted the
location back to a central office for
tracking. Other assets like freight cars,
pallets, or containers can be tracked
in a similar way.
Monitoring remote facilities is
another key M2M application.
Companies want to keep informed of
the status of their tank farms,
pipelines, oil rigs, and other
unmanned locations. Almost any
communications link in industrial
automation systems in factories can
be considered M2M. Security
systems (including video surveillance)
use M2M to stay connected.
One major new M2M
application is monitoring the smart
grid. This includes monitoring
electrical generating plants, electric
substations, and the interconnecting
lines. It also includes remote meter
reading. Many homes are now
equipped with smart meters that
monitor energy usage and report it
back to the utility via a wireless
connection. Point of sale (POS)
terminals used in retail are also a
major use of M2M.
As for Io T applications, it is hard
to know where to start. Appliances
like the crock pot mentioned earlier
are only one example. While your
toaster and blender probably won’t
be connected, other major
appliances will be. Already, some
washing machines, dryers, and
dishwashers have wireless links to
report their usage and condition back
to the manufacturer.
A popular Io T item is the home
thermostat. With built-in wireless and
Internet connectivity, the thermostat
can be controlled remotely with a
laptop, tablet, or smartphone. One
popular product is Google’s Nest
thermostat in Figure 2. The home
HVAC can be turned off or on, or its
temperature can be set remotely
from anywhere in the world with an
Internet connection. Home lighting is
another typical utilization of Io T. You
can remotely turn lights off or on,
dim them, or (in the case of some
new LED lighting systems) change
colors. A remotely operated door
lock and garage door opener are
other examples. Any home device or
system is a potential target for Io T.
Medical and fitness devices are
also examples of Io T. There are
wireless heart rate monitors and
pedometers for runners, cyclists, and
other athletes. For medical patients,
there are wireless blood pressure,
blood glucose, temperature,
electrocardiogram, and other
monitors that can be read via an
Internet connection. These sensors
have wireless capability and report to
a gateway that sends the data off to a
nurse can interact as needed.
A forthcoming Io T application is
wearables. The new smartwatches are
an example (Figure 3). All sorts of
wearable devices from watches,
glasses, gloves, vests, and others will
generate data and transmit it
wirelessly. No telling what new
applications or capabilities will come
out of this.
One huge growing M2M niche is
telematics. Telematics is the wireless
technology associated with the
automotive industry. Some existing
M2M applications are hands-free
Bluetooth connections for cell
phones and in-car Wi-Fi hot spots
that link to the Internet via a cellular
connection, but that’s just the
beginning. Coming soon are more
sophisticated services, such as
vehicle- to-vehicle (V2V)
communications that will connect
one vehicle to others nearby. The
goal is to avoid collisions. Each car or
truck will announce its location via
GPS, its speed, and direction.
Go to www.nutsvolts.com/index.php?/magazine/article/june2014_OpenComm to comment on this article.
June 2014 19
THE LATEST IN NETWORKING AND WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES
; FIGURE 2. The Google Nest
thermostat learns normal use
patterns and can be controlled over
the Internet by way of a Wi-Fi
connection to a home router.
; FIGURE 3. This Samsung Gear is
an example of a wearable device. It
communicates by way of Bluetooth
to a smartphone.