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Clarifying IoT and M2M

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Clarifying IoT and M2M

M2M is often used as a synonym for IoT, particularly in the IIoT world. But while similar, there are differences in which rungs of the IoT ecosystem ladder they occupy.

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The Internet of Things is growing at an alarming rate; many applications that we use day to day are now connected and it’s great, isn’t it? Although the figures on how many devices are currently connected vary dependant on the source, the trend of growth is clear.

Growth in the industry is so much that McKinsey & Co believes that linking the physical and digital worlds could generate up to £8.79 trillion a year in economic value by 2025.

Are IoT and M2M the Same Thing?

Firstly, we can be sure that the concepts of IoT and M2M do have different meanings. The consensus view seems to be that Internet of Things is a broader concept, which is fed by the evolution of M2M applications and software.

To put it simply, ‘Machine to Machine’ is where machines use a network to connect to each other without human interaction. It’s is about connecting a device to the cloud, managing that device, and collecting data. In essence, M2M is about communicating and connecting with a “thing” such as a machine, device or sensor… essentially anything that can send and receive data.

IoT is an elaboration on this. Rather than the connected devices, IoT is the network of connected devices. It represents things connecting with systems, people, and other applications; again these applications are all datacentric.

M2M provides the connectivity that offers capability to IoT. Without these individually connected devices, IoT would still merely be a pipedream.

Part of the Whole (M2M), and the Sum of its Part (IoT)

“If you consider M2M in the next larger context, you get the IoT.” – Landon Cox, Associate Professor – Duke University.

What's the difference between IoT and M2MBack in 2013, during the earlier stages of IoT implementation, Matt Hatton compared M2M to the plumbing of the Internet of Things. Although 2013 seems a long time ago, that analogy is still accurate.

Each individual M2M connection created or project that is implemented contributes to the overall spectrum that is the Internet of Things.

Although upon introduction IoT and M2M seem daunting; (most likely because they’re in keeping with the rest of the acronym obsessed telecoms world) it’s time that everybody began to embrace the technology.

So bottom line, ‘what’s the difference between M2M and IoT?’ M2M is the connecting of devices and applications; each individual device we connected is direct M2M. IoT is a collation of all of our M2M connections and devices. It’s the Internet of Things, so if it’s connected via the internet and it’s a thing, you guessed it; it’s part of the IoT revolution.

IoT and M2M: Are They Interchangeable?

When looking for an IoT solution, you’ll often hear the solution itself described as an M2M device; especially when it comes to business acquisition. Many people believe that IoT and M2M are the same thing, that they’re interchangeable. The truth is, they aren’t. 

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Topics:
m2m ,iot ,connectivity ,connected devices

Published at DZone with permission of George Smith, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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