Excuse Me Please, While I Check a Message From My Home Appliance
AT&T announced recently that connecting machines to machines (M2M) with wireless devices is going to get easier. ReadWriteWeb's AT&T Makes App Creation Easier for Home Appliances, Other Objects tells us that apps aren't just for phones any more.
A fast growing number of non-phone devices is coming online and publishing data about their surroundings and activities to the internet. From e-readers to bathroom scales to traffic signals and connected home sensors, the network enablement of formerly disconnected devices is just beginning. The Internet of Things, Web of Things, or Machine to Machine (M2M) communication are the names many people have applied to this trend and it's widely expected to be one of the next major technology disruptions.
Wow, "the next major technology disruption" is a pretty bold statement. Especially since AT&T has been quietly going about this M2M business of connecting devices for 11 years now, and is the leading carrier (with Verizon breathing down its neck) for that type of communication. Internet connected devices can do things like monitor electrical grids, facilitate remote health care, and let you know if your refrigerator is too warm.
Here's an AT&T video. It's promoting AT&T, of course, but it does give you an idea as to what can be done with M2M wireless connections.
ZDNet reports that AT&T has already approved 1100 devices for use on its network in AT&T steps up machine-to-machine services. Other wireless carriers are scrambling to capture this piece of the wireless pie.
AT&T's announcement regarding making app development for M2M services easier mentioned partnerships for four companies that will help developers create apps. One such company is Axeda, which ReadWriteWeb described as:
A cloud-based app creation and management platform that already processes more than 250 million M2M messages per day, three times as much messaging as the entire Twitter fire hose. (Machines don't mind reading what one another ate for lunch, apparently.)
Yep, 250 million a day, and that's going to grow.
Monitoring a machine takes much less bandwidth than phone calls or other types of Internet connectivity via smart phone. A wireless network can support a lot of M2M communication with not much commitment of network resources. Sounds lucrative to me. I'm wondering how much money AT&T makes every time an electrical grid sensor somewhere warns that consumption is getting a bit too high. And will the electric company soon be able to send out an alert to every subscriber saying, "turn down the heat quick, before we have a blackout."
If my pantry talks to your pantry, can we plan dinner together?