Friday, May 25, 2012

M2M, SAP and Enterprise Mobility

I had an interesting call with the team at DSI Online this week.  They are a veteran enterprise mobility company, that integrates with Oracle and SAP, and they are also big into M2M (machine to machine) communication.  Any company involved in plant maintenance, enterprise asset management and utilities would benefit from being able to remotely communicate with machines in distant locations and monitor their operations for maintenance and repair requirements.

This week I also learned a new M2M related acronym, MBAN (mobile body area networks).  This is the acronym for wireless sensors that can remotely report on the health of the patient wearing them.  In a presentation by SAP's Mobility team in Rotterdam that I attended this week, they showed a slide that said Health Monitoring is going to be one of their mobile priorities.  Can you see the trend toward convergence of M2M and enterprise mobility?

According to recent studies by the FCC as reported by The Wall Street Journal in an article titled Medical Devices in Hospitals to Go Wireless published on May 24, 2012, an unmonitored patient has a 6% chance of surviving a cardiac arrest, compared with a 48% chance for a monitored (M2M connected) patient.  That sounds like a good ROI to me!

SAP certified partner ILS Technology has documented some good reasons for connecting M2M solutions to ERPs like SAP.  In an article, Case Study: Emerson Network Power, ILS Technology describes the requirement for M2M Monitoring.  Emerson Network Power manufactures the Liebert brand of precision cooling and power management solutions for data centers. The company provides cooling units, uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) systems, batteries, and other components that help keep data centers from overheating, and ensure that back-up power kicks in if there is any type of electrical interruption.

Large data centers are complex facilities to manage. The heat generated by the racks of servers has to be dissipated using special cooling equipment, and each device requires specialized back-up power equipment to ensure up time. Emerson manages data centers for large companies that can’t afford any type of power failure. The back-up systems Emerson provides are critical, because they can keep the equipment powered in case of a system failure or power outage, until the emergency generators can kick in. If the cooling and power systems fail, a data center could potentially lose capacity or even go offline.

The ramifications of an outage for any Fortune 1,000 company can be phenomenally costly. If a regional bank loses its ATM network, it can cost upwards of $50,000 per minute. Because of the high cost of downtime, Emerson’s customers rely on ILS Technology (an M2M solution provider) to ensure downtime doesn’t occur.

The equipment documented above can all be connected to and monitored by M2M wireless chips that can report back to EAM (enterprise asset management) systems and in turn can automatically issue service tickets to field services organizations.  See the connection between M2M, SAP and enterprise mobility?  The enterprise mobility solutions tie backend EAM, dispatch, scheduling and work order management solutions to mobile service technicians using devices like Psion's EP10.

Kevin Benedict, Mobile Industry Analyst, Mobile Strategy Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.