If you’ve been hearing all the craze about the Internet of Things (IoT), you’ve probably also heard about M2M solutions. Both concepts are fundamentally changing the way the world and businesses operate on a daily basis. In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what M2M is, how it differs from the Internet of Things, and the benefits these solutions provide.
What Does M2M Mean and How Does It Work?
Machine-to-machine communication, also known as M2M, is when two or more machines are “communicating” or exchanging data with little human interference. The main purpose behind this exchange of data between M2M modules usually happens in one of three ways: 1) a serial connection, 2) a powerline connection (PLC), or 3) a wireless connection.
These connections take place within an M2M network. An M2M network is similar to an LPWAN network but focuses solely on machine, control, and sensor communications. Within a single M2M network, millions of M2M cellular modules can be connected, from alarms and vehicle cameras to vending machines and construction equipment. As long as the device has controls or sensors, it can be utilized in an M2M solution.
What Are the Differences Between Iot and M2M?
The short answer? Yes, they are the same. While there are various opinions on if M2M and IoT are technically the same, they both offer the same promise: to connect devices all around the world to the Internet and each other. In fact, M2M was really just changed to be called IoT as more and more companies began to utilize M2M solutions. Generally, M2M modules operate identically IoT solutions, allowing devices to communicate to each other, share collected information, and automatically adapt operations as needed from new learnings without the need for as much human involvement. Where the terms can sometimes differ is IoT typically refers to wireless communication while M2M solutions include wired or wireless communication.
Benefits of M2M Solutions
Many companies can benefit from dedicated M2M solutions. Connected technologies, like M2M wireless modules, make communication easier and enable more applications within your organization to be connected. Because of this, business operations are more streamlined, ROIs are maximized, and redundancies are minimized. Here are just a couple of the main benefits of utilizing M2M:
- Better Informed Decisions
M2M devices continuously gather data and communicate in real-time. This information can help you make better-informed decisions for your organization and business – ultimately saving you more money as well. Some circumstances don’t even require a human to sign-off on the decision. M2M devices can automatically adjust based on the shared information they receive. Let’s say we are in the agriculture industry. M2M devices can communicate in real-time to help farmers decide where to place crops, what type of crops to plant, and how to adjust their crop care. This helps to better crop growth, leading to more profits and properly distributed resources. Whether it’s critical information for immediate action or the collection of big data over time to improve long-term decisions, M2M connectivity can help take the guesswork out of big business decisions.
- Improving Customer Experience
One of the great benefits of M2M–especially in the retail business–is that it allows you to see customer purchases and draw patterns and insights from the data to better understand what customers want to buy. In turn, this insight into operation speeds and efficiencies in combination with more information about your target audience leads to happier customers and a stronger and positive reputation while gaining a holistic view of collected customer data from all your devices.
- Tailored Marketing Efforts
The same data and insights you might be using to give your customers a better user experience might also help your marketing team know what they should market to potential customers. This leads to better marketing campaigns with higher results and less spend to get them for your company.
Other benefits include your employees spending less time manning devices, real-time analytics and reporting, increased business intelligence, better network performance, and flexible connectivity (wired or wireless).
M2M Use Cases
With IoT on the rise, more and more companies are taking advantage of M2M solutions to increase their profits and improve customer experience. Here are some of the most common use cases for M2M:
- Fleet Management
- Smart Cities
- Financial Services
Read more about IoT and M2M use cases on our industries page.
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