M2M Vs. IoT: the Ultimate Battle of the Trending Technologies

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M2M Vs. IoT: the Ultimate Battle of the Trending Technologies

Want to learn more about M2M and IoT? Check out this article to learn more about the difference and similarities between these two types of technology.

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M2M and IoT are the new buzzwords in technology. Though the discussion of these newly arrived, trending technologies are widely talked about amongst tech experts, the general public is still a little perplexed about the difference between M2M and IoT. Whereas commoners are trying to understand the technology, the tech pundits are arguing about M2M vs IoT.

To get the clear picture, we are going to discuss what these technologies are and the difference between M2M and IoT so that both halves of the audience can grasp these concepts.

What Is M2M?

M2M (Machine to Machine) is the technology that uses a device-to-device communication using channels whether it is wireless or wired. The purpose of this technology is to make life easy by communicating information and data without any manual assistance from humans. M2M was initially utilized for industrial purposes, and later, we found additional applications in healthcare, insurance, business, and more.

The major component of the M2M system includes RFID sensors, Wi-Fi or a cellular communication link, and smart computing software developed to transmit and receive data.

A simple and well-known example of M2M technology is Telemetry. Back in the old days, telemetry was used in transferring operational data. Discoverer of the telemetry initially used a telephone line and then radio waves to transmit the performance measurement from the recording instrument in the remote location.

What Is IoT?

Technical Definition

The Internet of things is the network of physical devices, smart homes, vehicle, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity. These things together connect, collect, and exchange data and information to gain a specific purpose.

Practical Definition

How are you reading this post? Maybe it’s on your mobile, laptop, or tablet. But whatever device you are using, it certainly is connected to the Internet.

Internet connection is an amazing thing that enables you to access the information from anywhere in the world. How does this information get to you? Think of getting or downloading a song you want to listen. It has to be stored somewhere in the world. It directly comes to your smartphone using the Internet.

In simple words, IoT is taking all the things in the world and connecting it together with the Internet.

Where Do These Two Technologies Overlap?

M2M and IoT are closely related to each other, but they are certainly not synonyms. M2M is the forerunner of the IoT. M2M had set the foundation and paved the way for the IoT. M2M does not depend on IoT, whereas, IoT depends on M2M.

From the business perspective, M2M facilitates business in connecting a device to the cloud and managing the device to get the data from it remotely. On the other hand, IoT is a mass market approach that applies to both the enterprises and the consumers as well. Consumer IoT connects people with their devices and lets them access the data remotely, whereas, business IoT provides asset tracking and devices management.

Now that we have got the basic idea about technologies let’s focus on their differences.

M2M Vs IoT: The Difference

How Is Connectivity Achieved?

The main difference between M2M and IoT lies in their method of connectivity. The way they connect their devices is completely different. M2M establishes a point-to-point connection with the hardware of the devices that communicates through the cellular network or a wired network. On the other hand, IoT communicates using software through standard-based IP network.

What Is Being Connected?

As the name suggests, M2M is the connection between machines. IoT goes one step further and connects those connected machines, integrates web applications, and establishes a connection to the cloud. M2M systems are often isolated, stand-alone pieces of connected equipment; on the contrary, IoS is more than device connectivity, as it is a network of connected devices.

Which Scales Better?

Since its cloud-based architecture, IoT is innately more scalable than M2M. The architecture discards the need of the hard-wired connections and M2M sim card installations.

How Is Data Utilized?

The most integral part of the application of M2M and IoT is their potential to improve business performance by remotely connected data. However, they both access and use the data in a different way.

Mostly data in the M2M systems are leveraged in maintenance applications. M2M data are majorly utilized in point solutions in service management applications. Whereas, IoT goes one step further by integrating device and service data with the big data, analytics, and business mobile applications where M2M fails to deliver.

M2M Vs. IoT







Vertical applications

Horizontal applications

Uses non-IP protocol

Uses IP protocols

One way communication

Back and forth communication

Can use the cloud, but not required to

Uses the cloud

The main purpose is to monitor and control

Multiple applications

Only structured data

Structured and unstructured

The machine uses point to point communication

devices use IP networks to communicate

M2M Applications

Machine-to-machine communication is frequently employed in remote monitoring. For example, if a vending machine is running low of a particular item, then it can send a message to the distributor’s network or machine to get a refill the machine.

Majority of the utility companies often rely on M2M devices and its services. Not only oil and gas companies but also the electricity and transportation companies leverage the use of the M2M applications. In telemedicine, the M2M devices are implemented to know the patients’ vital statistics, distributing medicines when necessary and other health-related assets.

The other application areas M2M serves are logistics and fleet management, traffic control, robotics, security, and automotive.

IoT Applications

Based on the search of people on Google, what people talk on Twitter, and what people search in YouTube, I have listed some of the top applications of the IoT.

Smart Home

Looking at the trends, IoT is one of the most-searched, popular technologies. More than 60,000 people currently search for the term “smart home” each month. This is the proof that people are realizing the potential of the IoT implemented homes. According to statista, the global smart home market is forecast to touch a value of more than 53 billion U.S dollars by 2022; that is huge for the new technology. More and more IoT app development companies are active in developing smart home application than any other application in the field of IoT.


After smart home devices come the mobile, handy technology called “Wearables." This includes some of the advanced technologies, such as implantables, smartwatches, smart jewelry, fitness trackers, smart clothing, and head-mounted displays. Not only enterprises but wearables have made their application in the health industry and sports industry as well.

Following the results of the statistas’ survey sales, the revenue from wearable devices is expected to grow from around 16 billion U.S Dollars in 2016 to around 73 billion U.S. dollars by 2022. Leading Wearables companies like Fitbit, Apple, and Xiomi have considerably increased their revenue from the smartwatch and fitness trackers.

Smart City

Smart city technology covers a broader application area from traffic management to water distribution, waste management to urban security, and environmental and more. Its popularity has been growing day by day because of its ability to alleviate the real pain of the people living in the cities these days. Managing traffic problems, reducing pollution, and making cities safer by incorporating smart security systems are the main prospects of smart city technology.

Voice Technology

Among other IoT technologies, the contribution of voice-enabled technology cannot be overlooked. If you are keeping up with the trending technologies, then it’s no surprise to hear more and more companies’ inclination toward conversational user interfaces. Brands, such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, are stimulating the trends forward. Virtual assistants, like Alexa, Siri, and Google assistant, are now commonly integrated with other smart technologies.

It has been predicted that 50 percent of all the searches will be voice searches by 2020. Looking at the speed it is going, it won’t be a surprise to see voice technology at the top.


All in all, the battle of M2M and IoT is never-ending. For the utility purpose still, it is the M2M that has been implemented in most applications. As IoT, software-based technology, it gives you more flexibility to scale for the future. Especially since businesses nowadays are rapidly adopting new ways to generate revenue for their enterprises.

data, internet of things, m2m, wearable

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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