Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications are the next big opportunity for wireless companies. M2M solutions include energy smart meters, bridge toll devices and remote medical monitoring. Canadian companies that seize this opportunity stand to reap huge rewards.
In my last post, I looked at M2M opportunities in mining. This time, it’s manufacturing, where demand is growing for M2M solutions.
Canada’s manufacturing industry employs 1.5 million Canadians and accounts for 12.6% of national GDP or $155 billion. As Canadian manufacturers seek to serve domestic markets and expand to new markets internationally, their success depends in large part on smart use of technology, including wireless solutions.
Wireless applications in the manufacturing process provide three key advantages: improved customer relationships, operational optimization and maximization of scarce work resources.
The use of M2M technologies is widespread in Canadian manufacturing:
- Remote frequency identification (RFID) and real time location systems (RTLS) are integrated into many manufacturing processes.
- Mobile customer relationship management (CRM) and field service applications capture client input into the manufacturing process.
- Wireless sensors monitor manufacturing processes and the impact on delivery times.
- Wireless Kaban accelerates supply chain integration.
Still, barriers block technology implementation. Plant managers often prefer traditional wired solutions. They are responsible for the risks of changing systems – loss of production is on their heads. Wireless solutions are often refused due to perceived lack of reliability.
A number of Canadian companies are successfully providing M2M solutions for the manufacturing industry. RFind offers a real time location system (RTLS) tags that remotely track vehicles. Flowfinity’s mobile apps transmit customer orders directly to the production team. Can2Go provides wireless Zigbee units that acts as wireless sensors in manufacturing operations.
However, we can do more. There are still significant opportunities for Canadian wireless companies to apply their technology and creativity to manufacturing, both here in Canada and internationally.
Wavefront is supporting the growth of M2M solutions in Canada by connecting wireless companies with critical resources, partners and opportunities.
Join the Wavefront Community and read about some of them in a Wavefront report, “Digital Applications for Productivity in the BC Manufacturing Industry”.