Personal Small Business Enterprise

Putting M2M to Work in Your Business

Machine-to-machine technology (M2M) isn’t just for tech startups and IT-based businesses. Just ask the folks at Sure Track Courier in Concord, Ont.

Sure Track has been providing courier, trucking, freight and warehousing services in Southern Ontario since 1979. Although the firm’s been in business for over 30 years, it was keen to adopt cutting edge M2M technology to help boost productivity and cut costs.

Did the move pay off for Sure Track? You’ll have to read on to find out. If you do, you’ll also see examples of how M2M is used in several industries – probably even yours. First though, let’s rewind a bit and explore how M2M works, along with how it is used across various industries today.

How M2M works
As explained in the first blog of this series, M2M involves machines communicating information to each other. Applications in a M2M network monitor and analyze that information in a way that’s relevant to users, and users can program the machines to automatically perform certain actions based on specific data triggers. M2M is also used to diagnose and fix operational problems in real time. In addition, smartphones and tablets can be used to remotely monitor and manage many M2M processes.

How M2M is used across various industries
M2M technology can save businesses time and money in a number of ways. If you’re wondering just how M2M technology can be used within various industries – perhaps even your own – here are some examples:

Retail: mobile point-of-sale (POS) services for transactions in the field; real time sales data for inventory and budget management.

Food services and sales: temperature monitoring and control for refrigerators, coolers, freezers, ovens, etc. in restaurants, stores or delivery vehicles.

Manufacturing: remote inventory tracking and management; for example, M2M can alert managers that raw material supplies are getting low and automatically order more.

IT: remote monitoring of how IT assets are being used and where they are (which also cuts down on loss or theft of devices); remote diagnostic reports when devices, networks or services go down.

Building management: activation and monitoring of alarm systems and security cameras; utility consumption tracking to cut heating, cooling, water and electricity costs; automated control of air temperature and quality.

Construction: real time tracking of tools, equipment, materials and workers so they can be deployed efficiently among several job sites.

Digital signage: remote management of digital displays and content; this can be tailored based on location (i.e., specific content triggered when prospective customers use mobile devices nearby).

Transportation: fuel consumption monitoring; fleet location tracking; navigation; automated maintenance alerts and diagnostic reports for vehicles; deployment of location-based data or entertainment content for vehicle passengers.

Sure Track uses M2M technology to reduce costs and enhance productivity
Speaking of transportation, that brings us full circle to Sure Track Courier. Still want to know how well M2M worked out for them?

The company used integrated M2M solutions for fleet tracking as well as mobile order dispatching and invoicing. Tracking vehicles in real time enabled Sure Track to dispatch drivers and complete deliveries more efficiently. The firm also monitored when its vehicles were idling, speeding or approaching toll roads so it could remind drivers to turn off their trucks, slow down or change routes. The result? Fewer speeding fines, less wear and tear on trucks, lower toll costs and a 6 to 10 per cent drop in monthly fuel expenses.

The bottom line
As shown by the various examples above, you don’t have to be in a transport-based business to drive up your productivity and cost efficiency levels with M2M technology. M2M solutions are available for a wide range of industries and businesses, so be sure to contact a trusted service provider if you’re interested in learning more.

Tell us how you’ve used M2M technology to help run your business – or how you’d like to use it. Share your thoughts in our comments area below.

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