M2M Becomes a Matter of Life and Birth

Gareth Thorne
On: 25 Aug 2015
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Gareth Thorne looks at how companies are using machine to machine (M2M) technology to innovate in eHealth and agri-business.

In my first blog on M2M I talked about how the technology has brought new possibilities to the way companies do business. I concluded by advising companies to be entrepreneurial in their thinking but to ensure that it is based on thorough planning. There are so many examples of companies, in every sector, doing just that: taking real business problems and turning them on their head using M2M.

One sector that has employed M2M to great benefit is eHealth. In the past, those providing services in eHealth were restricted to using analogue devices that were unable to connect or deliver data on which patient care providers were able to act. The growth of connected digital devices and the networks that support them has enabled providers to deliver targeted and improved care straight to the person who needs it.

Services that support independent living for seniors have clearly benefited from M2M, and it is a growing market. According to the Centre for Aging Research and Development, by 2041 there will be 1.4 million seniors in Ireland aged 65 and over – that’s 22% of the population. One company supporting seniors’ health and wellbeing is Motech. It has developed a discrete, wearable, mobile device that uses a SIM to collect data and understand when a senior may need help. Through M2M, it provides monitoring, activity analysis, tracking, emergency response and two way communications that are capable of providing seniors with constant access to care and emergency services wherever they go.

Clearly the benefits here are that a greater number of seniors are enabled to live independently, and also it reduces the reliance on residential patient services that may already be stretched.

Motech soon realised that their device had applications in other sectors that needed remote monitoring – specifically agriculture. There are nearly 140,000 farms in Ireland, some spread over large territories. Motech, in collaboration with Moocall, developed a solution to provide farmers with a mobile calving monitoring-service. Moocall’s device uses sensors to detect when a cow is about to give birth and automatically sends the farmer an SMS alert. This ensures both the farmer and vet are in the right place when needed. The Moocall solution has increased the number of live births and helped farms to improve profitability.

Both services are using sensors to deliver data to a back end platform that monitors and instructs alerts to be sent. These platforms facilitate M2M and data monitoring and exchange to support service delivery – whatever it may be.

Innovative, entrepreneurial thinking is a key part of M2M and Motech demonstrates how it was able to take a single service and with a little adaption, create a whole new market around it.