What is the difference between M2M and IoT?

IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (Machine to Machine) are two very popular developments in the field of technology. But what is the difference between these two buzzwords? Is there even a difference, or do both technologies mean the same thing?

What is IoT?

Internet of Things is the general term of a network of connected devices. When we talk about IoT, we mean that things can communicate with systems, people, devices and other applications. The network is able to exchange mobile data between all these parts of the network. IoT is a software based technology, which goes beyond technology and connectivity alone. In IoT the network can communicate through different channels, for example mobile (3G/4G) networks, WiFi and bluetooth.

Examples are fitness trackers, home automation (Alexa etc.), but also industrial automation, sensors, connected vehicles etc. The role of IoT in the industrial and construction industry is revolutionary. Examples of applications are connected cars, fitness trackers, smart energy apps and many more.

What is M2M?

Machine to Machine is a mobile data solution technology where machines or devices are connected with each other through a network. There is no human interaction in this case. Anything that can send or receive mobile data can be connected to other devices and machines. M2M is more about hardware than IoT, since machines, smartphones and other appliances are the main components used. Interactions between machines or devices are being enabled through telecommunication networks (3G/4G and satellite) and M2M sim cards. In most cases, we see M2M applications in situations where an action of one machine triggers the other machine for action. M2M therefore focuses for example on the maintenance industry, where machines send out an alert to its owners or the manufacturers in case it needs for example a new part, new fluids, or it has a possible defect.

In short: M2M is more focused, IoT is a broader concept

Although we see that terms are used interchangeably, IoT and M2M do have different meanings. Internet of Things is a broader technology, of which the development of M2M is a very important part. M2M solutions are often focused on a specific job and uses cellular networks, while IoT based networks are larger systems. They offer more flexibility and have more connectivity pillars than M2M.

Next blog:


5 ways how IoT will change the retail industry

Read more