General Electric's industrial machines are about to be a lot more connected. The company just announced an expansion of its AT&T partnership that would add wireless capabilities to a range of GE products, such as electric vehicle chargers, lighting and engines. This would allow employees to remotely monitor, diagnose and resolve issues by connecting to machines though GE's AT&T-enabled "Industrial Internet."
AT&T's machine-to-machine business has been growing rapidly recently. The company reported a 38 percent increase in M2M customers this past year, with millions of new devices connected to its network. Unlike a consumer cellular customer, wireless machine communication often involves real-time collection and analysis of data, as well as the ability to algorithmically adjust operations and remotely access machines.
Nearing a time where every object is connected to the internet
It appears as if we're nearing a time where practically every object is somehow connected to the internet, the so-called "internet of things." Consumer-wise, Intel recently released a tiny chip called Quark that is specifically designed for wearables and other small objects. Nest is busy working towards enabling a connected home, first with a smart thermostat and most recently with a Wi-Fi enabled smoke detector.