As time goes by the number of hosted data collection and presentation solutions available to M2M / Internet of things users is increasing, and this includes the platform we offer in Metron VIEW. This is great and we are working with quite a few ‘software as a service’ companies across the globe who have integrated our M2M & telemetry hardware into their platform and can therefore supply complete solutions to their clients. Clients requirements vary and not every platform suits every application – terminology varies from sector to sector, there’s the need for different languages, some need special algorithms such as predicting when a storage tank will become in need of replenishing, others need some level of approval such as metering. Us M2M professionals cannot hope to understand all the subtleties of every application that will arise - it’s often going to be a case of horses for courses.
The same goes for the hardware. Some applications require a simple modem, others a serial or Ethernet based interface and a bit of intelligence, whilst our focus is generally on applications where there are sensors and alarms so the telemetry / M2M device needs to have some inputs and possibly outputs. Again, it’s horses for courses.
What I am experiencing is the need for yet another dimension when it comes to the M2M platform. Our clients vary in size, IT capability, M2M & telemetry experience and attitude to data security and depending on the clients makeup the way that data needs to be collected & presented changes. What we’ve done with our Metron VIEW platform is to extend its capability from being a hosted platform to one that can be deployed on our clients servers if they so desire. The end result is one that suits all – the client has control and manages their risks and data, we get to sell hardware, sim cards and software. M2M ends up being successful.
There are others who have an existing platform and want to get the data into it. This can be approached in a number of ways including writing a driver to suit the protocol that’s in the hardware, using a hosted solution with an onwards interface, using some hardware / software platform to act as an interpreter (this seems to be a popular choice when getting data into a SCADA system from remote devices), or installing a software solution such as Metron VIEW on the clients server and providing a suitable interface.
What is your approach to M2M..? If you are a solution provider do you intend to offer only hosted solutions or be a bit more flexible? If you are a user what is it you want..? If you are a SaaS company what do you want from the hardware..?