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IoT vs. M2M – What is the Difference?

We all are acquainted with the new IT buzz word – Internet of things (IoT). Every big and small tech company is betting on this innovation; and rightly so. But unless you are a tech enthusiast, chances are that you wouldn’t know much about the predecessor to IoT – Machine to Machine (M2M) Solutions.

M2M solutions are not commonly known because their applications are more technical in nature. In fact, this lack of understanding extends even to tech circles, as many people tend to use IoT and M2M interchangeably. Although their working principles are similar, these technologies have fundamental differences.

Internet of Things (IoT)

In simple terms, IoT can be defined as a system where multiple devices communicate with each other through sensors and digital connectivity. They talk to each other, work in tandem, and form a combined network of services.

Machine to Machine (M2M) Solutions

M2M solutions contain a linear communication channel between various machines that enables them to form a work cycle. It’s more of a cause and effect relation where one action triggers the other machinery into activity.

Differences between IoT and M2M

  • IoT > M2M
    Some experts define M2M as a subset of IoT, while others like to call Internet of things as an evolved version of machine to machine. Either way, the  take-away is that IoT is a broader term than M2M solutions as it encompasses much more technology and connectivity.
  • Flexible connectivity
    While both technologies work on the principle of connecting devices to work together, their connectivity scopes are different. M2M solutions rely primarily on conventional connection tools like wifi while IoT adds more sophisticated sensors into the mix. As a result, IoT based systems have much more flexible and varied connectivity options.
  • Systems and Solutions
    There is also a clear difference in the applications of these technologies. M2M solutions, because of their limited scope, are confined to creating a network of machines that work in synchronization. On the other hand, IoT creates 360° solutions that allow for flexible responses and multi-level communication.
  • Interactivity
    Lastly, the key advantage IoT has over M2M solutions is the ability to add interactivity amongst devices. Machine to machine solutions operate by triggering responses based on an action. It’s mainly a one-way communication. In IoT based systems, communication to and fro flows freely. There can be countless scenarios and combinations.

Future of M2M

Although IoT is a more complete and modern solution, M2M still has its place and applications. Machine to machine collaboration is a reliable and trusted solution for manufacturing setups in many industries, and will continue to serve this role for years to come. So, while Internet of Things gets all the limelight, M2M will continue to serve as an unsung yet important worker within the industry.

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