M2M Promotes School-Zone Safety


M2M technology at its best helps business and organizational leaders make timely, informed decisions, often resulting in a wide range of benefits. In some cases, the decisions made based on M2M data can have far-reaching effects beyond adding to a company’s bottomline—although increasing profit margins are always on a business’ to-do list.

Digital-signage solutioa> enabled by M2M can bring several different kinds of value to both businesses and the community at large—whether it’s by delivering key metrics to companies looking to provide the most relevant content or by displaying safety messages when and where they’re needed most. In precarious areas, such as school zones and other roadways with high traffic rates, M2M technology can help make things safer.

ABI Research,
www.abiresearch.com, suggests the global market for digital signage will grow to $4.5 billion by 2016, up from $1.3 billion in 2010. Scott Johnson, CEO and cofounder of All Traffic Solutions, www.alltrafficsolutions.com, which designs, manufactures, and sells radar speed displays, variable message signs, and Web-based management tools, believes growth in this segment of M2M will translate into safer roadways.

“Speed displays remind drivers entering school zones to watch their speeds and keep kids safe,” Johnson says. “… In high-traffic areas, congestion can be minimized with automated rules to recommend alternate routes, alert (drivers) of emergencies or changing road conditions, or direct drivers to a designated parking area.”

In school zones particularly, Johnson says speed settings can be programmed to coincide with a school’s start and dismissal times; school activities, such as recess or field trips; and sporting events after hours. With customers such as law-enforcement agencies, municipalities, state DOTs (departments of transportation), and other private facilities and campuses, All Traffic Solutions hopes its next generation of connected technology will transform the business of traffic management.

Plus, Johnson says M2M-enabled, cloud-based technology adds a whole new level of operating efficiencies and remote-management capabilities to traffic-management devices. The company works with ThingWorx, www.thingworx.com, provider of a software application platform, to support application development for its Web-based traffic-control suite—SmartApps.

The SmartApps solution suite allows law-enforcement professionals and other agencies to remotely monitor, manage, and interact with traffic-safety signs. The SmartApps Mapping tool plots equipment on an interactive community map that outlines location and displays realtime data. Not only can end users review equipment status and view reports, they can alter settings on a realtime basis, for instance, changing speed or congestion thresholds based on what’s happening in the community.

Johnson says M2M increases the performance of digital signs and displays while giving agencies the tools to identify trends that can ultimately help them achieve traffic-safety goals. M2M also helps All Traffic Solutions be a better supplier. “Because the products in the field are fully cloud based, we can deliver value-added subscription services such as remote management, monitoring, and reporting,” Johnson says. “We can react more accurately and quickly with direct support based on actual usage. We also have the ability to remotely upgrade and upsell products at any time and integrate our product data with our general business systems.”

Thanks to the development tools and integration capabilities provided by ThingWorx, All Traffic Solutions believes it will be able to accelerate its time to market, potentially offering customized applications and services up to 10 times faster than it did using previous technologies. However, there are still some hurdles holding back the market at large.

“There are two opposing (hurdles) to becoming ubiquitous: supply and demand,” Johnson says. “As a starting point, connected solutions have a cost of ownership and a value-added advantage over non-connected products. As the solutions become more sophisticated saving even more time and achieving better results, they will be valuable in more applications. Demand will continue to rise as organizations experience increased operational burdens, complexities, and higher expectations at a time of shrinking resources, which will force the adoption of new ways of working.”

Ultimately, society will need to rethink solutions, striving for those that deliver ongoing value. Industry advocates like Johnson believe the sheer economics of M2M-enabled solutions will cause them to become a “no brainer” for companies looking to maximize efficiencies and results, and this will translate into a desire from the community at large.

During a time when consumers need to feel steps are being taken to keep them safe in their communities, solutions that can promote safety based on realtime information are more than trends, they’re necessities.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #safety #digitalsignage

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