Example: Imagine you run a business that refills 10,000 public coffee vending machines. Traditionally, you have someone circle from place to place and check if the machine needs to be refilled or you can wait for people to call and tell you that the machine is empty or out of order. EAI would add a small computer that sends a small SMS text message when the machine runs out of supply. So you will only drive down to the place when the machine requires your service.
Many companies use EAI to collect the data from their shop floor appliances, lab equipment, and of course to interchange data from different ERP systems and sub-systems deployed at customer or vendor sites.
So the benefit is the traditional one: it saves money for data interchange through automation and at the same time the quality of the data transfer is enhanced, since the automated data transport is far more reliable than a manual read via paper slips.
This was first published in July 2008