January 23, 2013

A Strong Case for M2M-Enabled Endangered Asset Protection

The machine to machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) markets need powerful case studies documenting the REAL impacts of M2M and IoT solutions deployed today. We’ve got one here.

But before we get into it, a disclaimer:  INEX collaborates with individuals and organizations that share not only our interest in the Internet of Things and M2M, but our intentions as well.  INEX believes that the intentional, intelligent application of IoT and M2M solutions can help create more meaning for a number of stakeholder groups, not just more money for IoT and M2M developers and deployers.  Make no mistake, we are a for-profit enterprise and are firm believers in merit.

And this case is a winner.

M2M modules optimized to operate in austere network and harsh physical environments in protected regions of the Amazon.  Devices are attached to trees.  A number of mechanisms are embedded in the devices to notify authorities when a tree from a protected/ managed region is harvested.  The solution operates in near-real-time, and has back-end services that have enabled authorities to more quickly apprehend poachers, keep the contraband off the market, and provide layers and layers of economic and quality of life benefits to a number of stakeholders.

The Installation – Strong ROI driven by …

An Efficient Solution.
While there are a number of elements to this solution that are laudable, one that caught my attention was the application of an innovative RED (Radiation Data Exchange) technology that boosts effective operating ranges in austere power and network coverage environments.

In other words, NOT big data; small data. key data or what some of us geeks call ‘short bursty data’.  This exception-based reporting is critical to making this solution work, and perhaps THE key to making it cost effective.  As we all know, dropping thousands or millions of these devices in the forest, with embedded power to support chirping at regular intervals, would have been cost-prohibitive.

Multiple Auxiliary Value Propositions Around the Core. 

Where do we begin?  The stakeholders benefitting from this solution literally run the gamut of humanity on the planet:

  1. Logging franchise holders – protecting their investments
  2. Lumberyard and sawmill license holders – keeping their operations humming and free from contraband material
  3. Furniture and finished product makers – keeping their material flows clean and consistent(for all three, a major benefit would be barrier to market flooding at all three levels of the ecosystem)
  4. The Brazilian government entities charged with managing these forests, the logging and lumber trade
  5. The citizens of the areas within and contiguous to those forests
  6. The citizens of Brazil who have the opportunity to benefit from the redirection of resources from expensive and dangerous forest patrols to other services such as education and health care(for all three, and of course for the rest of the planet, a healthier environment benefitting from scrubbing capabilities of these old growth forests)

The list goes on and on and on.

Lightweight Solutions To Heavyweight Problems

Austere Environments.  Otherwise known as near-zero infrastructure installations, this case highlights that some of the best M2M and IoT solutions do NOT need significant infrastructure, gating technologies, or antecedents in order to create value.

And that is a magical point:  This solution leveraged a number of EXISTING data sources in order to create this solution.  That kind of leverage is precious in the eyes of many a specifier, evaluator, deployer.

Basic materials industry.  Lighting up dark assets is quickly becoming a well-worn phrase to describe M2M and IoT opportunities.  However, most of the examples are often durable, man-made goods.  Fleet management and smart grid are two of the most oft-cited application opportunities in M2M and IoT connections today.

In parallel, a wide range of environmental instrumentation that has been operating and adding great value in a number of government and research programs for many years. Those markets have pretty clearly been too small, fragmented and specialized to capture much attention.

During the past few months consumer goods have gotten hot with the prospect of leveraging consumer addiction to smartphones to tether unattended devices.  On the other end have been less frequent discussions on natural resources management.

Collaboration Between Technical Leaders and Subject Matter Experts

Gemalto is not a household name.  Unless you operate in the world of secure wireless solutions.  Then, Gemalto is one of the global leaders specializing in mission critical wireless. If the IoT is going to happen as we all hope – secure, reliable, scalable, profitable — then Gemalto and its ecosystem will likely be there helping to drive it.

Cargo Tracck is also not a household name even in its core markets transportation in its home country of Brazil, unless the conversation turns to secure, reliable, cost-effective remote asset tracking in that country.  But, CargoTracck is the local SME (subject matter expert) that makes this solution really work.

They know the organizations, agencies and enterprises involved.  They know their people and their processes.  They are trusted.  This is what we learned when Dolores Hirshmann at INEX, a native of Argentina, translated local coverage of the installation for us.

The best implementations of IoT and M2M will be intelligent, context-sensitive, intentional approaches from the authentic technical leaders and subject matter experts.  And as the potential applications of IoT and M2M are truly boundless, we are going to need a lot of people from a lot of companies to do it right.

What’s the Point?

The point is, this is how M2M and Internet of Things markets will roll out.

With razor sharp value propositions, not hazy, intergalactic visions.

With authentic value creation for multiple stakeholders in an ecosystem, not a single entity seeking to reinforce itself in the already dying winner-take-all economic model of the last three decades.

They will roll out with local SME (subject matter expert) integrators and service providers teaming up with legitimate technical leaders, not generalists hawking one-size fits all plug and play solutions.

For an excellent brief on the application, please read Gemalto Latin America MD Ramzi Abdine’s piece.

A couple of people we know and respect highly, Kevin Fitchard at GigaOM, and Stein Soelberg at KORE Telematics, recently wrote about an implementation of M2M used to track protected trees in endangered forests in Brazil.

Kevin’s piece was an efficient overview of the application.  Stein’s piece offers a bit more context on his team’s look into M2M and sustainability.  We appreciate them both.


Christopher Rezendes, president of INEX Advisors, a technology intelligence and advisory firm based in New Bedford, MA, has nearly 22 years of experience analyzing, advising or operating mission critical technology businesses. Rezendes’ firm, INEX Advisors, focuses on helping clients define, select and prosecute their most promising growth and investment opportunities. The firm concentrates in Machine to Machine/Internet of Things/Connected Devices, and a cluster of related enabling technologies critical to transforming mobility, cloud and big data solutions into a semantic web.

Throughout his career, Rezendes has worked with some of the largest and most respected companies in the industrial, embedded, defense, infrastructure and information technology industries. His clients have included nearly 75% of the Electronics Business Top 100 OEMs, most of the Information Week 100, and every tech-focused member of the Fortune 500.

Please contact Chris Rezendes at to continue the conversation on these topics and explore ways that INEX Advisors can help your company to develop and deploy successful M2M/IoT solutions that create true value for sustainable revenue growth.


January 23, 2013