What's the Difference Between IoT and M2M?

Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) are both terms that refer to devices connecting and being accessed remotely. This often leads to confusion around whether or not they're interchangeable. However, the reality is that M2M is actually a subset of IoT.

A Brief History

The term “Internet of Things” was coined by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999. IoT is a system of "interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction" (IoT Agenda). M2M refers to direct communication between devices using any communications channel, including wired and wireless. Machine to machine communication can include industrial instrumentation, enabling a sensor or meter to communicate the data it records to application software that can use it.

What's the Difference?

You see, M2M refers to devices connecting to other devices while IoT refers to device connectivity on a larger scale. Traditional M2M solutions typically rely on point-to-point communications using embedded hardware modules and either cellular or wired networks. In contrast, IoT solutions rely on IP-based networks to interface device data to a cloud or middleware platform (Automation World). So why do these terms matter so much? IoT is an ever-growing landscape, set to increase from its valuation of $157B in 2016 to estimated $457B by 2020. While IoT devices are expected to grow to 31B globally by 2020, surpassing 75.4B devices in 2025. IoT's impact is far and wide and it's important to know how it can improve your business. Being in the IoT space and more specifically the M2M space, OptConnect is on a mission to connect the world. We provide the connectivity, your devices provide the experience. We believe that IoT and M2M will have a critical impact on the way we connect with the world around us.

What Can We Expect From IoT in the Future?

As IoT continues to grow new technologies will emerge including wearables, advanced smart homes and more. In the future you can expect IoT to focus more on the following:
  • More sensors
  • Data privacy
  • Machine learning
  • Tightened security
In conclusion, though IoT and M2M are different, they are both carrying a widespread impact on technology. It's vital to understand the integral roles they both play in our fast-paced, tech-driven world.

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