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The Future will Be Automatic: M2M in Automation

  • By Ryan Skidmore

Telematics is a kind of Automation

“Automated systems eliminate the need for human interface in order to complete a task” (https://www.reference.com/technology/automated-system-c85583d0f17a632) That means you don’t have to do it by hand anymore. Some people lament the current advent of heavy automation in our midst. Nostalgia for the “way things used to be” has been present almost constantly since the dawn of the industrial revolution. See Miranda Lamberts’ Automatic. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ksWKOy665o) Many of the activities that have been replaced in as many years are as follows. Would Miranda yearn for adding up a stack of number 400 or 500 lines deep, in lieu of Excel, at some fictitious day job instead of going home at 5pm, when the work day ends, to be with her fictitious family, or do literal anything else? Lot’s of this “everything” that is now “automatic”, to quote our muse, is menial and boring. Or in our case, that of fleet management, difficult and requiring tremendous focus paired with continuity measured in years. But as NPR says “it’s boring stuff like fleet management that makes money for traditional rental companies” in the shifting landscape of ride share (think Uber and Lyft) and it this selfsame practice that will save your business money. (http://www.npr.org/2016/08/22/490969811/rental-car-companies-face-challenges-in-age-of-ride-sharing-services) There is no fun in fundamentals. Back to Miss Lambert and her nostalgia, to be fair automation and the Internet of Things/M2M (we’ll get to M2M in a sec) might not mean much for consumers, but it means everything for businesses.

What is M2M?

“Machine to machine refers to direct communication between devices using any communications channel, including wired and wireless.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_to_machine) That’s machines talking to each other, doing things, and you don’t have to touch them for this process to continue. It works like this. You plug in the Carmine GPS device. It talks to the cell towers. That talks to servers. Boom, you have useful information on your vehicles. But, “Companies that fail to exploit this next wave of the digital revolution (M2M) will simply obsolete themselves.” (http://www.automation.com/library/articles-white-papers/articles-by-jim-pinto/the-m2m-machine-to-machine-revolution) By failing to take advantage of such systems, businesses will not be able to keep up with other businesses that are using such systems. So it becomes necessary to understand such new fangled contraptions.

The Future is Automation.

It’s harder to make it in the future (the future is now) than the past for regular business owners. (https://www.quora.com/Was-it-easier-to-create-a-successful-business-20-30-years-ago-than-today) Primarily, because the tools available to everyone are so much more powerful and the barrier to entry is so much lower. Less obviously examples are: computers and the Internet (the whole thing as an example) offer ease of access to crowd funding tools to raise capital and ability to locate then acquire cheaper equipment with online auctions and market places. (Ever wanted to buy government surplus equipment? Here you are: gsaauctions.gov.) Past this, larger companies have an almost science like approach to even the most peripheral portions of their businesses further upping the pressure on small companies to compete. (Here is Walmart hiring a data scientist: https://jobs.walmart.com/us/jobs/805523/Data-Scientist?lang=en-us&codes=Indeed&utm_source=Indeed&utm_campaign=AppFeeder&utm_medium=JobBoard&utm_term=Hiring%2BStandard&utm_content=JobDescription. It has scientist in the title!) However, play smarter and it will be easier than the past ever was. Innovation is a two way street. Using automation and M2M technology for, say, Real Time Tracking or Field Service, allow you to move in the right direction. You stay ready. You stay agile. You stay ahead of the curve. Sink their battle ship indeed! Such tools are a standard part of the Carmine suite and they really might be the only thing between your business and oblivion. Business is not business as usual. At this juncture, there are two options. Adapt or fade away.

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