New Tools Help to Connect “Things”

10/9/2012

Connecting devices to the Internet is becoming a major focus for many technology companies. The idea of the “Internet of Things” is enabled by M2M (machine-to-machine) technology, and it’s an idea that is quickly becoming reality in a variety of fields.

The number of Internet-connected devices is set to grow. According to IMS Research, www.imsresearch.com, the number of Internet-enabled devices is forecast to reach 9.6 billion by the end of 2012. The research firm also expects 28 billion Internet-connected devices by the end of 2020. Whether or not these numbers become fact, they show the potential for the technology.

IMS Research points out 75% of the devices forecast by 2012 are what it considers “existing connected devices,” meaning they are in categories such as fixed and mobile communications, computers, and consumer electronics. But the research firm also says these segments are projected to account for just half of the total installed base by 2020, predicting Internet connectivity will become more common in fields including medical, industrial, and automotive.


Companies are lining up to enable these Internet-connected devices with new hardware, software, and service solutions. Recently, ThingWorx, www.thingworx.com, and Digi Intl., www.digi.com, announced the ThingWorx platform will power dashboarding with the iDigi solution. The ThingWorx platform allows iDigi Device Cloud users to visualize key network metrics and information within iDigi Manager Pro, an application used to mange devices in the cloud.

Together, these solutions are designed to help bring connectivity to more devices, and provide a faster time to market for applications.

Another M2M technology provider, Sierra Wireless, www.sierrawireless.com, also recently announced a cloud-based solution. The newest AirVantage M2M Cloud offers users a platform for building, deploying, and managing large M2M applications. It provides secure two-way communication between connected devices and the enterprise and is designed to make it easier to manage large numbers of devices.

Integrating connectivity into “things” is a trend that keeps gaining more attention throughout all areas of business. Whether it’s a medical solution that tracks a patient’s vital signs, or a car that broadcasts it engine status via the Web, connected devices are quickly becoming common. New solutions will be needed to help companies understand connectivity and use it efficiently, and it appears technology providers are stepping up to the plate with tools designed to make the process easier.




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