Machine-to-machine, or M2M for short, refers to the interaction between devices without manual intervention by humans. M2M technology allows machines to share information and even coordinate and perform actions. All of this, in an autonomous way.
M2M technology was first adopted in manufacturing settings. It was then embraced by many other sectors, including healthcare, business and insurance. M2M has an almost endless range of applications. Some examples are: remote control in logistics, energy meter reading, ATM machines, health monitoring and many more.
How does M2M technology work?
M2M technology works by collecting data and transmitting it to a network. Any device with sensors can be connected to some sort of network. M2M is also used to automatically perform actions that are set off by sequences of events. For example: a smart alarm clock could receive from the network the information that a train was cancelled. It would then calculate the extra time needed for the commute and ring the alarm early.
All M2M systems consist of the three main components:
- Data Endpoint (DEP). The system containing the data to be transmitted or monitored. An M2M network can consist of several DEPs and connected devices. The Data Endpoints send the information to the network, where it is transferred to the Data Integration Point. Individual DEPs also interact with each other via the network.
- Communication networks. They are used to transfer data between devices. Networks include wireless or wired Internet or cellular connections. There other network technologies that are primarily used in the Internet of Things. Among them are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), NFC and Bluetooth.
- Data Integration Point (DIP). The machine that receives the information. While there can be many Data Endpoints, there is only one DIP in a network. The DIP can be a server or a control center, among other things.
M2M and IoT
M2M is the foundation for the Internet of Things (IoT). The two terms are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same. IoT requires M2M, but the reverse is not true.
Both terms relate to the communication of connected devices. M2M systems are usually deployed in a closed network. IoT systems use wireless connections to coordinate different systems into a single, wider network.
What are the advantages of M2M technology?
M2M technology is extremely versatile and offers several features and advantages:
- Low energy use.
- Fast data transmission.
- Ability to schedule data transfers, resulting in increased efficiency.
- Data processing greatly exceeds the capabilities of human beings.
- Remote control of devices.
- Reduced need for maintenance.
- Reduced risk of human error.
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