iMetrik M2M Solutions Inc. (OTCBB: IMEK), an end-to-end provider of machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions for a variety of industries, operating in the same space as companies like Telit Communications plc (LON: TCM) and RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ: RFMD), was recently featured in an article that highlights the firm’s focus and growth prospects.
There’s the internet that we all know, love and, most of us anyway, rely upon each and every day. The availability and applications are so broad anymore that it is hard to imagine where the internet is going next. Most experts believe that the next big boom is Machine-to-Machine, or M2M, technology. Whereas the internet we know today could be looked at as “the internet of people,” M2M is hailed as “the internet of things” because it allows virtually anything to “talk” to another machine (or “thing,” if you will) anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The M2M technology that allows machines to communicate makes way for people – consumers, service managers, etc. – to control and monitor any machine or appliance wherever it is located in the world simply using a computer or smartphone to collect the data and make any necessary modifications remotely.
A quiet leader in the M2M space, well-positioned to start making much more noise with its technologies is iMetrik M2M Solutions, Inc. (IMEK). Really the name says it all. To understand iMetrik takes at least a limited understanding of the technology of the industry that has been in development for more than a decade. M2M applications are either one-way or bi-directional communications between a sensor that is programmed to take readings and monitor specific parameters and another machine that collects and transmits the data to the responsible party. The parameters for monitoring can literally be anything, such as temperature, condensation level, speed, pressure, fluid levels, amperage, elevation, etc. It does not matter if it’s a person, machine, object, air or if something moves around as fast as a bug on water or is a rock in the desert that hasn’t moved in centuries; it still produces some type of data and that data could have importance somewhere to someone. Simply put, M2M collects and transmits data from anything.
The nascent technology is now starting to hit its stride with exaggerated non-linear growth expected in the next couple years. One of the issues that plagued users is that the chain of events to monitor data has been very fragmented. In other words, users had to put together the building blocks on their own to create the system. A complete system requires 1) sensors to capture the data; 2) products to convey the data; 3) network connectivity; and 4) a web application to read, interpret and act upon the data 5) actuator to control the machine or appliance. Up until recently, no one put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, so M2M growth has remained somewhat stunted. No matter how great the technology is or its countless applications, up to now it has quite cumbersome and expensive to incorporate into daily business strategies.
Enter iMetrik M2M. The company offers the first true plug-and-play M2M solution. IMEK has spent years developing their technology as a new gold standard for simplicity and superiority in M2M applications. The cellular gateway is based on the latest Quad-band GPRS/GSM wireless engine. The gateway comes integrated with a wireless access point network (WPAN) from iMetrik’s distribution and manufacturing partner, Monnit Corporation, an industry leader in low-cost wireless sensors. Sound complicated? It’s really not. The long-life, battery-powered sensors collect the data and then transmit the info through RF waves (kind of like a cordless telephone) to an iMetrik designed unit (called a gateway) that is local to the sensors. The gateway can be several hundred feet from each sensor and accommodate up to 100+ sensors. The gateway then uses cellular technology to send the signal “to the GSM cloud” where it is collected by iMetrik’s web application. Users then can see the data at any time via cell phone, tablet, computer, etc. Alert parameters are set by the user to receive email, text or phone call when the readings deviate outside those specified levels so appropriate action may be taken to correct any problems.
Bringing all the necessary components in one box, the gateway comes pre-activated on the iMetrik global network, avoiding the need for users to negotiate mobile operator connectivity contracts.
Again, the uses are only left to the imagination. Anytime a user wants to know where something is or what is going on with it, the data will be there.
Now that testing has been completed by iMetrik and subsequently by Monnit’s team of engineers, the system is ready to hit the market. Not only does Monnit design and manufacture the sensors, but it is also a healthy distribution point. An additional distribution contract is in place with Metropolitan Industries, which amongst other things, is one of the largest manufacturer of sump pumps in the United States. Although Metropolitan is a major player in the sump pump industry, that category only represents about 30 percent of its business. The company also generates substantial revenue from its HVAC offerings (another fit for the iMetrik sensor technology) as well as municipal government contracts and others. Metropolitan will be adding the M2M solution to monitor the more than 200,000 sump pumps it sells each year. Why? That answer is simple and really only a matter of understanding how critical M2M solutions are to any company. In the case of sump pumps, if they don’t work when they are supposed to, the resulting water damage can be devastating. If a sensor is always monitoring whether the pump is working properly and the back up battery is fully charged in case of power outage, water-damage catastrophes can be averted. The annual cost associated with the monitoring of thousands and thousands of sensors through iMetrik’s system could potentially be recouped by avoiding one instance of flood damage. So, pump manufacturers will love it…and insurance companies will probably like it too. This is just speculation for now, but it would not seem out of the question for insurance companies to soon offer discounted rates for usage of M2M technologies that protect assets, similar to what they do for security systems on houses.
Partnering with two juggernauts in their respective industries such as Monnit and Metropolitan should give iMetrik the type of market exposure that most small companies can only dream of. Not only are their existing client lists already extremely long, but Monnit and Metropolitan have been exhibiting the iMetrik products at trade shows across the country recently, which should lead to more sales in addition to the hundreds of units that have already been pre-ordered by suppliers for demonstrations. Commercialization is now underway as on May 22nd the company reported that it has made delivery of its Cellular Gateway to its two major North American distributors (presumably Monnit and Metropolitan).
iMetrik has the solution to one of the key problems that has limited the expansion of M2M usage rates worldwide. A recent study by Machina Research calls for the M2M market to hit 12 billion devices by 2020, generating a staggering EUR 714 billion in revenue (US$571 billion). These M2M connections will account for half of all global data connections, dominated by consumer electronics and intelligent buildings, the report adds. Major corporations are looking to penetrate the M2M space as the boom begins as evidenced through Verizon (VZ) paying a 175.86 percent premium to acquire Hughes Telematics, Inc. (HUTC) for $612 million, or $12.00 per share, that was reported today. The evolution has begun and iMetrik should be right in the thick of this massive growth.