The “smart” wave is coming, and it’s only a matter of time before machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is incorporated in nearly every major electrical device on the market. Although the wide-reaching repercussions of M2M technology are not fully understand, one thing is for sure: M2M will drastically alter how individuals “connect” with their technology, and offer innovative new solutions for environmental sustainability.
And in no way are these changes more apparent, than with the emerging EV market.
About M2M Communication
M2M technology basically allows two or more devices to connect and communicate with each other wirelessly. For instance, the installation of smart grids has begun in earnest in many cities across the U.S., and allows device in your home to communicate with your utility. You can set your appliances to turn on during off-peak hours for energy savings, and get a more detailed report of your electricity consumption at the end of the month.
Mobile (smart) phones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices have all been pivotal in the M2M transformation, as these devices serve as “gateways” or “access-points” for users to access and interact with this new information.
Ultimately, M2M technology provides consumers with the ability to achieve easy, cost-effective, and immediate “smart living”, and it will be a defining feature of the impending technological transformation.
Electric Vehicle and M2M Technology
People are often intimately connected with their means of transportation, so it would make sense to incorporate smart technology in vehicles. So far, the small yet burgeoning EV market has been incorporating M2M in a big way.
Take the new Ford Focus Electric, for instance. The MyFord Interface allows you to connect with your car remotely via your smart phone, thus allowing you to view and interact with your driving data, car charging information, and a range of other datasets.
The Ford Focus Electric therefore becomes more than a means of transportation: it becomes an EV ownership lifestyle.
EV Charging Stations
EV charging stations also offer innovative new ways to incorporate M2M and smart grid technology.
For instance, many developers of charging stations offer software and applications to connect EV owners with their network of stations. Often times charging data, charging station location, and billing can all be accessed from an individual’s smart phone.
Charging stations that are connected to a smart grid can also communicate with the utility to take advantage of favorable electricity pricing, and slow down or stop car charging when electricity is most expensive.
The Way Forward
Although M2M technology is still in its early days, it shows great promise in revolutionizing how individuals interact with their homes, their electrical devices, and their means of transportation. So far the EV market has taken advantage of these new technological advances and incorporated them in both EVs and EV charging stations.
But as the EV market is still in its early stages, who knows what revolutionary ideas the future may bring.
Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.