One day just about every machine will be smart and they’ll be able to communicate with each other as well as with people. It’s an idea known as the “internet of things” and it’s already begun, with early initiatives including the likes of smart fridges and vacuum cleaners, which can be controlled from your phone and leverage information from the internet, their surroundings and each other.
Now EE is getting in on the act by installing 4G SIM cards in the RAC’s patrol vehicles. You might wonder why a van needs a SIM card but in fact there are a lot of potential uses.
Everything from braking distance, to idling time, to average speed of the vehicles can be fed back to computers with the help of the SIM card, creating a machine-to-machine (or M2M) network. That information in turn can be used to help drivers improve their driving skills, for example by not braking as sharply or by accelerating more gently.
That then allows the RAC to work on lowering fuel consumption and already the RAC has been able to cut its consumption by 17% and estimates that in the course of the year it will save around £500,000 with the help of the data gathered by EE’s 4G SIM cards.
Plus by improving the skills of its drivers the RAC is able to get its insurance premiums lowered.
Not only does it save the RAC money but it’s also able to use the SIM cards to accurately track the position of all its vehicles, thereby improving communication with customers and providing more accurate estimates on when a patrol vehicle will arrive.
And by lowering fuel consumption the RAC is also helping the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.
Currently EE provides 3 4G SIM cards to each patrol vehicle, amounting to around 5000 SIM cards overall.
But that’s just the start. Any number of companies could benefit from this kind of data and it’s even feasible to imagine the technology making its way into the cars of ordinary people in the future, allowing them to work on their own driving skills and save money and fuel in the process.
It’s the internet of things in action and before long it could be as big as, well, the internet.
Have you heard of 4G LTE Advanced? the next phase of 4G.