September 29, 2010
Going the Distance with M2M
By Carl Ford, Partner, Crossfire Media
A friend recently started telling me about a project he was working on which sounded pretty interesting. His client is an oil well company and their field is in the arctic. From what I gathered, documenting the wells and reading the gauges at the required schedule has over 30 men involved in documenting the readings.
The process is arduous and involves driving snow tanks to the sites, looking at the gauges recording the information. Each well requires about 25 minutes of time.
Now imagine if you could make the process wireless and gather the data by driving in the proximity of the wells without having to get out of the truck. The benefits would increase because now the system could include more information including better time stamps, better locations and identification. And the workers would be happier.
Now a lot of this is not new and we have alternative strategies with satellite. However, the cost has been prohibitive, but if the system could be built using common technology like a Blackberry all the better.
Why a Blackberry? It turns out in the arctic a touch screen does not work terribly well. At 4GWE we are looking at the vertical markets and we are finding some great opportunities. Some of them have environmental challenges.
Most interesting is that the platform becomes replicable. It can be applied to other oil fields and remote testing requirements.
It can also apply to the issues of smart meters. Right now my power company comes and reads the meter in my house. If the power guy drove by would I care?
The economics of M2M are dependent on the space between sensor and aggregation gateway.
It also happens to be the mostly likely place to profit as an Integrator.
Ahead of the M2M event held with 4GWE and ITEXPO next week, CDG will be giving out its awards. I do not know who won but I can tell you the solutions that were in the running were innovative and in some cases close the gap for many M2M solutions.
Some of the solutions are the opposite side of the problem where sensors are small and need to be aggregated locally.
If you are trying to close the gap on your needs, you may find the solutions in LA next week.
Carl Ford (News - Alert) is a partner at Crossfire Media.
Edited by Patrick Barnard