New technology is helping to pave the way for advanced maintenance strategies that use wireless technologies and machine-to-machine communications to give better insight into the health of company assets, The Associated Press reports.
According to the media outlet, this could mean a car that automatically relays information to insurance companies to let them know how the driver is doing, bathroom scales that helps keep track of weight through an online program and several other products that are a part of the so-called wireless revolution.
At this year's Mobile World Congress, the focus shifted away from wireless technologies that allow humans to talk to each other, and toward those that help machines communicate to improve efficiency. This machine-to-machine technology, or M2M, is expected to make its way into several industries, ranging from kitchen appliance builders to large equipment manufacturers.
"I see a whole set of industries, from energy to cars to health to logistics and transportation, being totally redesigned," Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group PLC, said in a keynote address at the presentation in Barcelona, Spain.
However, some critics say M2M technology could struggle to live up to its reputation. Dan Shey, a principal analysts at research firm ABI, argues otherwise though, saying he believes it will make a lasting impression on several industries. This does not mean, however, that it will turn into a flashy way to make profits soar, but rather, a very consistent way to save money during operations.
"It's about gaining more out of the asset that you have, like a truck," he said. "When it needs maintenance it gets maintenance at the right point. Or ensuring that the vending-machine guy only goes to the vending machine when it's empty."
Given Shey's example, it appears condition based maintenance could benefit enormously from breakthroughs in wireless and M2M technologies. The system, according to the Southwest Research Institute, is a maintenance philosophy that helps firms actively manage the health of their assets, resulting in maintenance that is only performed on individual equipment items when it is needed most.
This helps save costs associated with corrective or reactive maintenance, and takes a more lean approach to operations than schedules maintenance.
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