As the universe of the “Internet of Things” continues to expand, more and more devices need active, wireless data connections, as well as 24/7 management and help desk support. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things by 2020.
Having more wireless devices also creates more avenues for individuals to exploit unsecured connections, increasing risk and potentially exposing valuable data and trade secrets. As the variety of devices—which can range from biochip transponders to heart implants to smart thermostats—continues to grow, so does the complexity.
Many of these devices hold great value or significant promise for business applications, but they also inevitably create new challenges for wireless expense and mobile resource management.
The smart watch is one example of the growing wearable wireless technology category. Smart watches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear™ and Google’s Android Wear are powerful devices with instrumentation, multi-core computing power and touch screens built in. These devices rely on a high-speed Bluetooth connection to communicate with a compatible mobile phone.
Beyond simply telling the time, smart watches can display text messages, show flight status, give you the latest weather, and monitor physical activity. However, they still depend on another device (like a smart phone) to connect to the Internet. Today, they’re focused mostly on consumers, although they may prove to have valuable business use cases over time.
MACHINE-TO-MACHINE (M2M) TECHNOLOGIES
With Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, diverse machines communicate data remotely with each other. Connecting these devices to a data network reduces the need for manual status checks and can streamline operational workflows.
For example, consider a large soft drink company with thousands of drivers filling vending machines. Not every machine will need attention every day. A smart vending machine with an active wireless data connection can monitor its own inventory and communicate with a mobile device on the driver’s truck in real time. The vending machines let drivers know which products need refilling and whether they can skip machines that are still full. This insight improves driver efficiency while reducing fuel costs.
As your business explores opportunities to improve productivity or streamline workflows, make sure that your mobile device management solution is comprehensive and detailed enough to handle the growing number of wireless assets. Just as with traditional mobile device networks, you will need to closely monitor wireless devices to make sure that the operational savings outweigh increased spending on wireless.
While the future evolution of The Internet of Things may not be clear, it is a relative certainty that the number of billable devices on your carrier bill will continue to increase and that your wireless expense management strategy needs to be up to the challenge.