The networked communication between machines (M2M) is one of the largest growth fields in the telecommunications industry. Even though M2M has primarily been a factor in business up until now, an M2M application for consumers won the futurezone Award powered by T-Mobile. This makes M2M available to end users.
First place: myVitali
The healthcare solution myVitali from the Swiss company of the same name took first place in the futurezone Award in the category of M2M powered by T-Mobile. MyVitali is a platform for healthcare management and is interesting for two kinds of users: One is health conscious people who record their activities and want to monitor their weight for lifestyle reasons, and the other is persons suffering from illnesses and who want to support therapies for conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, or metabolic syndrome.
One app can be used to save blood sugar levels, weight, and BMI, for example, as well as daily activities such as how far the user walks to work. Relevant health parameters can also be combined individually in this way.
Medical devices from other manufacturers (such as scales and blood sugar monitors) can be integrated by means of Plug & Play. The user simply has to enter the serial number, and the software will take care of the configuration. The use of M2M gateways makes the entire system mobile and allows it to be used anywhere (including on vacation and on business trips). Data does not have to be entered manually, as the devices synchronize automatically when they are within range of the M2M gateway. The gateway itself is so compact that it fits in a pocket. In this way, up-to-date health information is always available.
Activity and vitality index
In addition to the M2M element, the healthcare solution is also unique thanks to its specially developed activity index. It records activity not only on the basis of quantitative parameters, but also uses a complex algorithm to calculate the effect that exercise has on the user’s health and fitness. Unlike other common systems that dole out recommendations like taking 10,000 steps a day, the activity index from myVitali evaluates factors like the regularity, duration, and intensity of exercise. The daily goal is generally to achieve an activity index of 100.
Instead of taking 10,000 steps per day, for example on a leisurely shopping tour with multiple breaks, the system recommends 5,500 higher intensity steps that cause the person to sweat in order to achieve the activity index. In other words, not all movement is equal.
In addition to the activity index, there is also a vitality ratio and an individual health and vitality index that provides feedback about the user’s situation, and that thereby shows the influences that a person’s lifestyle has on his or her health. This allows the person to accurately compare their health with that of their grandchildren or spouse.
“There is a great deal of potential in the extended healthcare segment,” says Thomas Kicker, managing director of T-Mobile Austria. “I think that M2M will grow most rapidly in the areas where the most costs can be saved.”
Second place: LineMetrics
Photo: LineMetrics The startup LineMetrics is also operating in such a field, and took second place in the futurezone Award. LineMetrics is a cloud-based analysis tool that informs manufacturing companies about the state of their production environment in real time. The Plug & Play LineMetrics data logger box that is installed by the manufacturing company transmits the output of machines to the online portal, where data and statistics are shown in a clear manner. This is designed to enable manufacturers to increase the efficiency of their production systems without having to dedicate an entire IT department to the project.
In addition to the M2M hardware, LineMetrics also consists of a cloud service that can be used without extensive training. The system can collect a wide range of industrial data such as energy consumption, quantities, fill levels, and capacity utilization levels. LineMetrics is a flexible overall solution that users can install and start up themselves.
Third place: Petwalk
Third place in the futurezone Award in the category of M2M went to an invention in the consumer segment: Petwalk. A startup from Ternitz has invented a high-quality entrance door for pets. The pet is identified using an implanted RFID identification chip or a small tag on its collar; this generally prevents other animals from using the door. This means that the system is also secure against burglars.
Photo: Petwalk Most countries already require RFID identification chips at least for dogs. To code the door, the pet with the RFID chip must simply pass through the door once. The sensors in the door identify the chip, and then open and close the door as needed. The doors are air tight, and have good thermal insulation. The door opens and closes fully automatically and without contact, so the animals do not need to learn how to operate the door.
Additional modules are also available that add more functionality. For example, there are models that are especially quiet, and models for passive houses. There are also modules that allow the door to be connected to an alarm system.