Machine-to-machine communication (M2M) is when multiple machines interact with one another without any human interference.
M2M technology is often confused with IoT technology, which, despite similarities, are fundamentally different from another.
Although M2M communication is the forerunner to IoT communication, both technologies overlap when it comes to where they are applied and how they enable communication between machines.
M2M communication refers entirely to the communication between devices, with the extent of human access being the reconfiguring of machines.
The main purpose of M2M communication is to connect devices to the cloud, where businesses and enterprises can collect data from, and remotely manage the devices.
M2M communication relies on point-to-point communications, which is usually enabled through hardware embedded into devices. Once these machines are connected to one another, they are linked through a cellular network to a dedicated software application.
M2M communication is often used to improve business operations, particularly when it comes to maintenance.
Examples of M2M communication can be seen across multiple industries, including manufacturing, energy and healthcare.
In the manufacturing industry, sensors can use their M2M connectivity to send alerts to electronic devices when a piece of equipment requires servicing. Some of these M2M-connected sensors can even order the necessary parts online without human interaction.
The energy industry makes significant use of M2M connectivity with the emergence of smart energy meters. This erases the need to send an employee to physically check each individual energy meter or requiring the business or enterprise to report readings from the energy meter themselves.
This will be especially useful as the energy industry moves further towards a model of dynamic pricing with certain peak hours for energy usage.
In the medical industry, M2M connectivity is being used to save lives. Devices that monitor patients’ vital signs can alert life support machines as soon as they’re needed, automating a process that used to be trusted to human interaction.