Events in New Orleans have proven that preparedness for natural disasters is as important as the threat of manmade threats. While the human suffering has been great, and arguably could have been reduced through better disaster planning and execution, the impact on critical resources such as energy infrastructure could have also been minimized and better managed through the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
Oil exploration, production, and processing operations were significantly disrupted as a result of hurricane Katrina. At least a portion of this disruption could have been avoided had facilities and infrastructure been supported with M2M communications. More specifically, pipelines and distribution facilities shut down for fear of potential destruction and leakage, could only be brought back on-line once status of infrastructure integrity was confirmed. Proper implementation and operation of M2M equipment and services could have both enabled automated response to impending danger as well as more quickly brought infrastructure back on-line. Furthermore, M2M could have been used to monitor the status of infrastructure throughout the storm.
Clearly M2M is a solution that can provide both a positive return on investment for normal operations in terms of automating monitoring and surveillance of assets as well as form a tool in disaster preparation and recovery. Applications of M2M for national security include energy operations, transportation facilities, communications infrastructure, utilities, and the military.
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