M2M 2 Services

Connecting people and machines to an organization’s information technology infrastructure is the goal of M2M, or machine-to-machine, solutions.

A new technology collaboration between nPhase LLC (www.nPhase.com) and Avnet Applied Computing Solutions (ACS, www.acs.avnet.com), will deliver solutions that leverage nPhase’s M2M technology with Avnet’s service and distribution capabilities. The two companies have developed a strategic relationship with Finland-based Nokia (www.nokia.com) for wireless connectivity on a global scale.

The initiative was announced in Chicago at National Manufacturing Week, Feb. 23-26. ACS, based in Phoenix, is part of the $9 billion Avnet Inc., a global technology distributor and services company. According to Troy Blanchette, senior vice president, services, for Avnet ACS, the company specializes in embedded computing solutions and technology integration for the end-user in markets that include industrial control, medical and aerospace. “This partnership with nPhase and Nokia represents the convergence of S-business (services business) with M2M,” says Blanchette.

nPhase, based in Chicago, develops and manages turnkey M2M solutions for product manufacturers and service providers. Steve Pazol, nPhase chief executive officer, addressed the importance of S-business to manufacturers by quoting McKinsey & Co.’s The McKinsey Quarterly 2003, Number 4. “Raising revenues from after-sales services ought to be at the top of the management agenda for companies in maturing industries.” McKinsey forecasts the M2M market to grow to $100 billion by 2010 for U.S., Japan and Western Europe businesses.

Pazol credits six factors for the explosive M2M growth projections: 1) A global public wireless infrastructure; 2) Digitization of machines; 3) Faster, smaller and cheaper processors; 4) The World Wide Web as network and user interface: 5) Evolving standards, such as TCP/IP, HTML, XML, SMTP and SNMP; and 6) The involvement of major market players.

“As price points continue to come down, it will become more and more economical to monitor every machine,” says Pazol. He cites the 500 million Internet-connected users and the impact that has had on the economy. “There are over 50 billion machines with electronic chips, which could be monitored with M2M.”

nPhase has partnered with other technology providers, including Opto 22 (www.opto22.com), in Temecula, Calif. The two companies developed a water treatment solution for Decatur, Ga.-based BioLab Inc. that uses Opto 22 products to monitor temperature, pressure, acidity and other pool water parameters. BioLab, which supplies swimming pool chemicals, uses the system as an after-sales tool to provide reordering services to its commercial and municipal customers.

Jane Gerold

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