- Axeda offers a cloud-based platform that helps customers develop and manage M2M applications across many vertical industries, and has been in the business for many years
- At its annual event, enthusiasm for M2M continues to mount, and customer case stories show advancement in the maturity of deployments
The annual Axeda Connexion M2M event (held in Cambridge, MA this week) was subtitled: “Get Serious about M2M”. The implication is that we are now at (or close to) the stage where M2M can be transformational to businesses.
To drive the point home, Axeda referred to its Connected Product Maturity Model, a growth curve that depicts six levels of maturity for the industry, against which each company deploying M2M solutions can measure itself. The levels range from Unconnected to Connected to Serviceable to Intelligent to Optimized to Innovative. Most of the customers describing their deployments seem to be somewhere in the middle, where M2M connectivity has begun to not only enhance their existing products and services with productivity benefits and cost reductions, but is beginning to leverage the kind of intelligence that can create even greater organizational impact.
These companies are creating new revenue generating services because they can now measure, monitor and control their products in the field, gauge how customers are using them, and think of new ways to “delight” them (generally for a fee). They are also starting to think of ways to mine the reams of data that they are collecting more effectively to provide disruptive, innovative solutions. M2M appears to have finally gone beyond the “reduction of time to repair” or “fewer live service calls” stage and is treading into a new intelligence-based service creation phase. Some of the case studies brought to life at the event illustrate this point:
- Hologic, a provider of medical devices for women’s health issues, has connected 10,000 of its devices in response to requests by its services group to increase customer satisfaction, customer usage compliance, and increase revenue, while reducing dispatch of service calls. The devices can now open up a service ticket (fully automated without human intervention) on their Oracle ERP back-end system when they detect a problem.
- GE Jenbacher, a GE division that makes gas engines, wanted to connect its engines and collect data on them, to provide internal information to its IT systems and services groups and has now progressed to a single merged data stream presented to its customers through a single portal.
- Isilon, a division of EMC, manufactures network attached storage (NAS) devices, and had connected thousands of their devices, resulting in an “avalanche” of data, (especially after EMC acquired them and their business doubled), so it developed (with Axeda’s help) a SupportIQ system integrated in with salesforce.com that provides detailed information on every device in the field that can easily be viewed and analyzed.
These kinds of industrial monitoring applications, that result in superior service and support but also additional services that are paid for by the manufacturers’ customers, are typical of Axeda’s growing business. Other speakers were more fiery about the overall M2M opportunity, and some believe that the “chatter” of machines will define 21st century business and result in “enchanted” objects that provide things with more power than they had originally. Examples include the intelligent pill bottle, the connected blood pressure monitor, the energy clock that can monitor and control energy consumption at different times of day. It is a compelling story to believe that someday everything that can be connected, will be connected.