"You can decide to ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality." Says one of my favorite quotes.
And today, I'll be sharing with you a reality you shouldn't ignore -- M2M.
M2M stands for Machine to Machine, and in practical terms, it is the technology that enables you to pay your DSTV subscription online, and without calling DSTV or doing extra thing, your DSTV subscription renews [automatically].
M2M is machine communicating intelligently with other machines to make life extremely easy for you. In the DSTV example, the Quickteller payment program (a machine) debits your account and posts payment on behalf of your DSTV smartcard account to DSTV, then another machine at DSTV processes the transaction and matches it with the bouquet you're subscribing for, activates it for you and set-up a 30 days expiration timer. In fact, once Quickteller is able to ugrade their system to do automatic billing, you'll never need to worry about your DSTV subscription expiring. And that's one of the very many examples of M2M helping make your life smarter.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, we always catch the wave of every technology after it's prime. Blackberry became popular in Nigeria only when it was already dying in other countries. ATM that has been in extensive use since 1970 just got to Nigeria more than 30 years after.
I posted my final year project online (the entire design and source code) and it has gone almost viral, lots of Indians have been downloading it and giving it a thumbs up. It was a M2M project; everyone that saw me test the final device was blown away. It could turn your house into a smart home. You can travel for a whole year and it would switch on your security lights every night and switch them off every morning. It could switch on your air conditioning system 30 mins before you get home on a hot sunny afternoon. It could switch on your water heater 10 mins before you wake up. It could verify if any of your home appliance is on or off, and notify you via an SMS. This is very useful for panicky mums who want to be sure that Junior didn't forget to switch off the cooker before leaving the house.
I even have a pending offer with an ICT company in Cotonou that is interested in building a home and industrial security focused version of the device. The problem is I have this funny problem: I end up working really hard for a thing or an opportunity, and when it finally comes I just walk away (I don't turn it down and I don't take hold of it, I just act indifferent). Maybe any of you experience that too, or I'm alone.
That's just one of the cool ways M2M is changing our lives. There are now M2M systems that automatically generate a grocery list of items you're are running low of and order them on your behalf. Unfortunately, most online shopping stores in Nigeria do not provide any API for a programmer (like me) to make it possible for such M2M devices to pass orders directly to those shopping sites.
But in developed countries, M2M is already big in the healthcare sector. You can safely leave your 90 year old grandpa at home and be sure to get frequent updates on how he's doing. And an alert whenever something unusual happens. It's that big.
What's currently in the works, is smart travel. You and your car will be able to know the traffic state of your preferred route to your destination, and also be given suggestions of better alternate routes. Your car will automatically know where the nearest car park is and even the parking spots that are vacant.
M2M is the next big thing in consumer technology.