Demystifying M2M and the Internet of Things

Who better to demystify machine-to-machine communication and the Internet of Things than experts from Three Ireland.

As you read through this video book to discover more about the possibilities and potential for your business with this latest technology, you’ll hear insights and invaluable advice from Three Ireland’s Shane McHugh – M2M and IoT Business Product Manager, and Gareth Thorne – M2M and IoT Business Development Manager.

Connectivity and capabilities on tap

“Think of M2M as the plumbing of the Internet of Things, providing it with the connectivity that enables capabilities which would not be possible without it.”

Matt Hatton Founder & CEO, Machina Research

Simply stated, M2M is the communication between two machines using cellular connectivity provided by Three Ireland. Those ‘machines’ can be located anywhere in the world. A piece of factory equipment. A delivery lorry. An HVAC unit. Even a cow in a field or a ship at sea.

“Everything we have of value will be connected to the internet.” IDC

The Internet of Things (IoT) is more than machines talking to machines. It is about sensors, software-based networking, data analytics, and applications connected globally through a myriad of different connectivity technologies. Using all these items together, IoT affects how we work and also how we live.

As the majority of future internet traffic will come from IoT-enabled devices, this will be the next Industrial Revolution: the ‘Internet of Everything’.

Smarter Smartphones

Deloitte1 predicts machine-learning capabilities will be present in over 20% of smartphones sold globally in 2017, putting IoT capabilities literally in the hands of a huge swathe of the population.

1. Predictions for the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sectors, 16th edition, 2017.

“IoT is going to take us into the future in terms of how we live and work.”

Shane McHugh, M2M and IoT Business Product Manager, Three Ireland

The business connection

The ICT industry is excited by the evolution of M2M and its transformation into IoT because this is the next leap forward in technology and connectivity.

The general public is excited by ideas such as and the ‘smart home’, which turns on their central heating, runs their bath and cooks their dinner, all while they’re on the way home from work in their IoT-enabled driverless car.

In-between these two visions of the future lie today’s businesses. Your business.

The mass of data generated and control facilitated by M2M, combined with the connectivity enabled by IoT, will enable businesses of all sizes in all sectors to:

Do more.

Do it better.

Do it faster.

Do it with less cost and greater profitability.

Here are just a few examples of what businesses can expect, in whichever sector they operate:

Enhanced customer service

Interactions with customers will be quicker and easier; enhancing the customer experience and increasing their loyalty. For example in the waiting room, visitors to the doctor, dentist, hairdresser or mechanic can check in with their mobile device. In return, they can be served information and offers while they wait.

Greater efficiency

When all data is transferred from one machine to another machine, manual data entry will be a thing of the past, and so will data-entry errors. From customer records to credit card details, information can be exchanged and approved in seconds, making transactions simpler, faster and more efficient.

Higher productivity

Machines which are continually monitored and remotely controlled will always operate at their optimum, to deliver maximum productivity with the most efficient use of energy and raw materials. IoT will also free workers to undertake tasks that make the best use of their skills, while connected machines carry out repetitive, time-consuming jobs such as inventory management.

Increased automation

In many industries, automation and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Using IoT, smaller businesses can benefit from the automation of critical functions such as stock re-ordering. When stock runs low, the embedded device automatically re-orders, so consumable supplies never run out.

More effective data collection

What are your customers buying, and when? Which products are selling best, and where? Essential information can be gathered automatically to make your business more responsive, more flexible and more efficient.

Easier fleet management

Whether you operate a delivery fleet, a fleet of sales reps out on the road, or a fleet of hire cars, you can track the vehicles and track the drivers’ habits, to optimise utilisation, routes, fuel consumption and maintenance.

Improved resource management

From something as simple as eliminating double-booked meeting rooms, to something as complex as allocating production-line machines to products, IoT will make the process easier, more effective and less prone to error.

“You’re going to see more and more companies using M2M and the IoT.”

Gareth Thorne, M2M and IoT Business Development Manager

Internet Everywhere

Since IoT can deliver efficiency, productivity and profitability, it’s a technology that is relevant to any business of any size.

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have an advantage in adopting this new technology due to their greater agility, the lower cost of investment on a smaller scale, and the faster ROI they are likely to see.

Varied national and international businesses in the following sectors are already making use of M2M and IoT:
Manufacturing, Healthcare, Retail, Field service, Supply chain, Agriculture, Security, Transport, Utilities, Household appliances, Facilities management

Making sensor of it all

Anywhere a sensor can be integrated, attached or embedded can become a node in the Internet of Things. Every one of those sensors can provide valuable data that can be used to make a business more efficient or productive, or to create a new business opportunity where previously one didn’t exist.

“Use data harnessed from IoT to change how you go about your business.”

Shane McHugh, M2M and IoT Business Product Manager, Three Ireland

You know your business better than anyone else; you will almost certainly be able to identify IoT applications and opportunities that are unique to it. Here are just some examples of how we are applying IoT for our customers:

Remote monitoring

Production equipment, cows, even people can be remotely monitored by sensors connected to the internet. Monitoring production equipment enables proactive maintenance. Monitoring cows enables early warning of illness, or birth. Monitoring people can allow the elderly to live independently even as they became more infirm, or enable patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease to manage them out of the hospital environment, with only remote medical intervention.

Energy management

All buildings consume energy for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. Monitoring, capturing and analysing data from these systems, and automating their operation, can make them more energy efficient and help reduce a business’s energy costs. Reduced energy use also means reduced environmental impact – important for CSR policy commitments.

Building management

In addition to energy management, buildings made ‘smarter’ through IoT applications can incorporate alarm systems and security cameras which are monitored and activated automatically or remotely. The continuous monitoring and predictive capability of IoT-enabled buildings can also enable pro-active repair and maintenance, and lower insurance premiums. Specialised weather sensors can provide advance warnings of adverse weather, from floods to hurricanes.

Mobile point-of-sale

To facilitate on-the-spot, in-person credit card transactions on the go, all that’s needed is a card reader linked to a mobile POS service, and a smartphone or wireless-enabled tablet able to access wireless data.

Digital signage

The content of digital signage can be managed remotely and tailored to its location, and even to its changing environment. For example, relevant content can be triggered when prospective customers use their mobile device in the vicinity.

Smart vending

Self-service vending machines are nothing new, but being able to buy from them without cash is. IoT not only makes cashless purchases possible, but also helps to simplify operations and reduce costs by monitoring and reporting sales data, inventory status and equipment maintenance requirements, in real time.

Asset tracking

Asset location, inventory and shipments can be tracked in real time, for more accurate control, improved inventory management and reduced risk of loss or theft.

“This will happen more and more through telemetry and through IoT as it makes much more financial sense.”

Gareth Thorne, M2M and IoT Business Development Manager

The Internet of Things in action

Three one of the largest M2M provider in Ireland. As such, we have lots of great stories to tell of customers who have capitalised on the capabilities of IoT – and Three – to create or build their businesses. Here are just a couple.

A revolution in vehicle hire

Over 6,000 vehicles, based in more than 25 locations, are rented from Europcar in Ireland every year. As the fleet grows, so does the need to improve driver safety and to track the vehicle inventory more accurately. Europcar decided to invest in a telematics system to meet this need.

Each vehicle is fitted with a telemetry device equipped with a Three SIM card, and uses the RentalMatix solution with connectivity provided by Three’s IoT platform. This enables Europcar to remotely access a wide variety of data, including information on how a car is driven, real-time driving conditions, and the car’s location.
The positioning data enables the pinpointing of every vehicle and cross-referencing with the rental system, to indicate which vehicles are available to hire and where, and to optimise vehicle location to meet customer needs. This was previously a labour-intensive manual process.
The information on driver behaviour which the system provides has helped the company to prevent fraudulent claims and significantly reduce insurance costs.

“A business that has taken IoT into the heart of what they do.”

Shane McHugh, M2M and IoT Business Product Manager, Three Ireland

Pressure is for tires

From headquarters in Ennis, Co. Clare, TireCheck works with customers on almost every continent, enabling international teams of roving maintenance engineers to carry out in-depth tyre analysis and vehicle and fleet inspections.

Replacing inefficient paper processes with technology, TireCheck utilises a rugged, industrial smartphone with a pre-installed app, for compiling reports and uploading data. Three’s global SIM ensures consistent, reliable network coverage via the optimal available cellular network.

TireCheck monitors its devices remotely through Three’s IoT platform. It can check their status, control them, and even manage any associated costs on behalf of its customers.
From working mainly with local customers, TireCheck now counts three of the world’s top five tyre brands among its customers, and operates as far afield as China, Thailand, Singapore and Russia.

5 Tips for Using IoT in Your Business

IoT presents opportunities, but also challenges. Blue-sky thinking is great, but strategies need to be built on solid ground. Here are 5 practical and important tips for instigating M2M and IoT in your business.

1. Define your project

2. Assess available skills and resources

3. Identify your integration costs

4. Know your cost model

5. Be entrepreneurial!

1. Define your project

Working with your chosen IoT partner, identify your objectives and map out the roll-out process. This will help you to stay on track, within budget and expected timeframes for delivery.

2. Assess available skills and resources

What do you need from your IoT partner now, and after the technology is up and running? Is there a training requirement for your staff?

3. Identify your integration costs

Don’t risk skimping on the investment required to complete the integration stage successfully; it can require a sizeable slice of the project’s budget.

4. Know your cost model

M2M and IoT offer OPEX cost models, however if you need to invest in any new infrastructure to support the technology, you will have created a CAPEX element to your project.

5. Be entrepreneurial!

The opportunities are vast and it’s easy to be bowled over by the possibilities. You don’t want to risk your first application of this technology by being over-ambitious. On the other hand, an entrepreneurial mindset can bring a host of new benefits if you convert your aspirations into tangible results. The application of M2M and IoT is limited only by your imagination.

“Most of our customers started out small and they’ve grown and grown”

Gareth Thorne, M2M and IoT Business Development Manager

Interested in the potential of M2M and IoT for your business?

Speak with a Three Business Adviser on
1800 200 016
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