All Penny Stocks – Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – Machine-to-machine technology, or M2M as it’s shortened, is steadily making its way into the marketplace. Commercials are popping up regularly on television programs talking about the Internet of Things, which is the phrase being used to liken the interconnectivity of machines to be able to communicate meaningful information through sensors and a network in the same manner that the Internet has delivered massive interconnectivity of people globally. M2M has been on the horizon for years, but is starting to hit its stride. Infonetics Research estimates that the M2M analytics industry alone will grow 53 percent from $1.8 billion in 2013 to $14.3 billion in 2018. The research firm projects that M2M connections will surge from 220 million to 630 million across that same time.
M2M is going to be everywhere as the data that can be collected serves a litany of purposes to help companies gain a competitive edge and maximize efficiencies. Burlington, Ontario-based Astrix Networks Inc. (TSX-Venture:OEE), which operates under the trade name Memex Automation Inc., helps companies to maximize productivity through M2M solutions. Astrix became a public entity on October 30, 2013 through a reverse takeover of GPS Investment Corp. The company’s flagship offering is MERLIN, an acronym for “Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network.”
Those that follow economic reports are aware of the industrial production report each month released by the U.S. Federal Reserve that includes the closely-watched figure of capacity utilization. Capacity utilization is a measure of how much resources are being used by a company. The report for March was delivered on Wednesday, showing that capacity utilization climbed to 79.2% from 78.8% in February, indicating factory activity picked-up as firms used a larger portion of their total resources. Incidentally, March’s figure was the highest in nearly six years.
Memex Automation solutions measure overall equipment effectiveness, or “OEE,” a measure of plant-wide capacity utilization. Using M2M, the metrics are delivered in real-time, giving operators the data they need to increase productivity and boost margins. The company has received many accolades for MERLIN, including Tuesday PEM awarding Memex the 2013 Plant Engineering & Maintenance Award for Best Company Under 50 Employees. Major clients and partners include Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), OEM giant Mazak and Okuma America Corp.
Tuesday’s news was followed on Wednesday with Astrix disclosing the Club Coffee purchased $106,000 worth of MERLIN products. Based in Toronto, Club Coffee has been operating for 108 years as a high-quality custom coffee roaster, selling its brand across North America to leading names in the retail and food service sectors.
“MERLIN enables Club Coffee to understand the root causes of machine downtime and how to convert unutilized time into production,” said David McPhail, Memex president and chief executive in a statement Wednesday. “This should signal to food processors and the sector that MERLIN can increase the efficiency of their operations by monitoring their machines in real-time and increasing overall profitability.”
The news of the order isn’t doing anything for Astrix stock on Wednesday, with no trading activity and the stock price at 13.5 cents. Technically speaking, the stock has not dipped below this level since last November when it entered the public domain and has even bounced off of it to as high as 20 cents in March.
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