In M2M, it’s easy to get caught up in all the cellular talk. But let’s not forget the role short-range communications play in the whole scheme of allowing machines to talk to machines. In particular, Wi-Fi comes to the forefront with some decent news activity lately.

Let’s start with a company named Redpine Signals. Have you heard of it? The wireless chipset company just came to market with a product it calls WiSeConnect, a self-contained low-power Wi-Fi module for M2M with all regulatory compliance built in. Okay, why is this so significant, you may ask? Well the module features Wi-Fi Direct and enterprise security required for M2M connectivity that features 802.11n Wi-Fi. This could mean a painless rollout of multiple devices into a network at a fast and manageable pace.

I like the example the company uses with regards to the industrial and medical markets, where different types of equipment can be connected instantly to the corporate or hospital network with full enterprise-level security through use of the module. These markets are good examples of where the hot opportunities exist, as everyone is trying to enable M2M in healthcare, but are cautious with regards to security. This self-contained module could be a difference maker in rolling out devices in such an environment.

Also on the topic of Wi-Fi, I had a chance to sit through a demonstration at CES from Texas Instruments where the company gave a sneak peek at its SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 family of products. Again, this product touts the fact it is a self-contained 802.11 network processor, which should speed devices to market that leverage Wi-Fi.

Of particular note, TI wants to take advantage of the expected influx of Wi-Fi-enabled M2M devices set to hit the market in the next few years, and the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 leverages the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure in order to make even your more conventional products become M2M products.

The demonstration they showed us was a Wi-Fi-enabled crock pot. Brilliant, is what I thought during the demo—I am far too paranoid to leave the crock pot on at home all day, for fear my chili pot might malfunction and burn the house down. My wife calls me paranoid; I call it looking out for the unexpected! Now with a Wi-Fi-enabled crock pot I might get an alert if something were to happen or I could control this “non-traditional M2M” thing from my office.

One more item of note: Aerohive Networks. The company offers cloud-enabled Wi-Fi and routing solutions for companies. I am still getting to know this company, but it looks to leverage the convergence of mobile, the cloud, and Wi-Fi to enable some interesting networking options. Stay tuned for more on this one.

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