M2M Device Networking:
Possibilities for Preventive Maintenance
By Marty Huff
Today, most businesses rely on networks for sharing information among
employees and customers. Yet this is only a small piece of the information
that can be shared. Machines and appliances - essentially any electronic
or electro-mechanical device with a sensor, controller or microprocessor -
contains a great deal of information about its status, performance and
The ability to extract raw data from a device, machine or appliance and
convert that data into useful information transforms the decision-making
from an art to a science. You can now leverage Internet, Wi-Fi and Cellular
technologies to relay information anywhere, anytime. This unique
combination of factors has converged into a powerful new paradigm known
as M2M (machine-to-machine, machine-to-man and machine-to-mobile). M2M
constitutes the next notable phase in preventive maintenance, a
phase that opens up a whole new world of possibilities including:
- The ability to know the status of a piece of equipment no matter
where you are, by having alerts sent to a web browser, PDA, pager or
- The potential to know which part needs repair or replacement before
you dispatch a technician, which can save time and money.
- Enhanced tools that provide the ability to analyze and track a
machine's history, in order to spot trends and more accurately predict
maintenance requirements well in advance.
- For those industries such as wastewater, where accurate regulatory
reporting is key, M2M strategies can create and deliver periodic
reports automatically and help reduce the likelihood of fines.
For example, a central server can monitor several remote cell phone
towers via the Internet. Let's say the beacon light on one of the towers
fails. The application running on the server recognizes the failure which
triggers a local alarm, sends an email alert over the Internet to the FCC,
and forwards a cell phone message to a technician. At that point, the
technician can browse to a Web page through a Web-enabled cell phone in
order to acknowledge the alarm and enter an estimated time for the repair.
Knowing at this point the nature of the repair, the technician responds
with the correct parts in hand to repair the light. To top it off, all of
this information can be made available to an enterprise software
application or authorized company staff.
Using simple plug-and-play modules, you can now connect devices
directly into legacy systems and create peer-to-peer device networks,
even with many types of equipment that have overlooked in the past. In
many cases, it is possible to connect to a single machine and gain access
to a majority of facilities equipment.
With M2M device networking, intelligent devices, however remote, are
capable of relaying data and sending alerts, alarms, and commands to cell
phones, PDAs, databases and other intelligent devices. Devices can also be
"Web-enabled" and accessible using a standard Web browser. This
article outlines the components required for an M2M system, demonstrating
how easy it is to implement an enhanced maintenance management system with
just a few basic requirements. For OEM's, an M2M system can provide an
incredible opportunity to provide enhanced customer service and
distinguish their products from the competition.
There are basically four components in an M2M system: 1) the
intelligent device (machine or appliance) where the data originates, 2)
the gateway that extracts and translates data, 3) the network which serves
the data and 4) the remote client which ultimately receives the data. M2M
software applications are optional but can facilitate communications,
enable Web access and provide the user interface.
Please See the following pages to continue with this Preventive
Maintenance Technology Article...
Device: Where The Data Originates
Translates and Passes The Data To The Network
The Connectivity That Serves Data To The Remote Client
Client: The Destination Of The Information
|Marty Huff - MSI
About the Author:
Marty Huff is an IT professional with MSI Tec and can be reached
directly at 720-875-9835 or by email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSI Tec is a provider of intelligent machine control components
and systems, and the value adding engineering resources for the
successful identification and implementation of their use.
Marty is responsible for M2M systems design,
programming and installation and is available for dedicated
training programs and seminars on the subject of M2M.
Don Fitchett, Business
Industrial Network, contributor to this article.