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The traditional model of enterprise business intelligence is about to be revolutionised, as the physical world is itself becoming a type of information system with the arrival of the ‘Internet of Things’ and machine to machine (M2M).

The arrival of the ‘Internet of Things’ and machine to machine (M2M) describes how, for example, sensors, tiny devices and embedded SIM cards in physical objects—from cars to supply chains—are linked through wireless networks using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet.

As a result, an agricultural company, for example, could achieve higher yields, increase productivity and lower costs by using solar powered crop-watering equipment with embedded wireless devices linked to data from satellites and ground sensors, to take into account crop conditions, temperatures and weather conditions in order to adjust the way each crop or field is watered.

As more objects become embedded with SIMs and gain the ability to communicate, the resulting information networks promise to create new business models, improve business processes and reduce costs and risks across all industries.

In responding to this innovation, a number of mobile operators including AT&T, Vodafone and China Mobile are exploring the development of an embedded SIM that can be remotely activated. This would enable mobile broadband connectivity on non-traditional devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices and smart meters.

The aim is to deliver a technical standard as an evolution of the current SIM provisioning mechanisms, which will include programmable SIM card capabilities to enable remote activation. A complete analysis of market requirements is scheduled to be completed by January 2011. Devices featuring the new SIM activation capability are expected to appear in 2012.

This innovation will challenge the current enterprise reporting model as it will offer real-time business intelligence capabilities alongside a vast increase in data management. It will also incorporate real-time consumer data, such as geo-location from mobile phones, to assist CRM and marketing opportunities. For this reason, the “Internet of Things” may accelerate the use of virtualisation and cloud computing services due to cost efficiencies and scale.

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