Machine-to-machine talk next big thing for wireless

2013-02-28T00:00:00Z Machine-to-machine talk next big thing for wirelessThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

BARCELONA, Spain - A car that tells your insurance company how you're driving. A bathroom scale that lets you chart your weight on the Web. And a meter that warns your air conditioner when electricity gets more expensive.

Welcome to the next phase of the wireless revolution.

The first wave of wireless was all about getting people to talk to each other on cellphones.

The second will be getting things to talk to each other, with no humans in between. So-called machine-to-machine communication is getting a lot of buzz at this year's wireless trade show. Some experts believe these connections will outgrow the traditional phone business in less than a decade.

Companies are promising that machine-to-machine, or M2M, technology will deliver all manner of services, from the prosaic to the world-changing.

At U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.'s booth here at the show, there's a coffeepot that can be ordered to start brewing from a tablet computer, or an Internet-connected alarm clock.

Vodafone has a "smart" car application that might seem intrusive to some: the company has been trying out a service in Italy that lets an auto insurance company know how much a car is being used, and charges premiums accordingly. It can also score the driver based on his or her driving style, and give pointers on how to handle the car more safely.

A former president of Costa Rica is also at the show, talking about how M2M can save massive amounts of greenhouse gases by making energy use more efficient - enough to bring mankind halfway to the goal of halting global warming.

The M2M phenomenon is part of the larger drive to create an "Internet of Things" -a global network that not only links computers, tablets and phones but that connects everything from bikes to washing machines to thermostats.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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