Both Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) have one thing in common – Devices! The remote access to the devices and the data within is what both M2M and IoT are about but then the similarities end here. M2M in a way is the precursor or the front runner to IoT and still has its applications and need in certain areas of industry.
Let’s observe delve deeper into what these technologies are all about –
How M2M and IoT differ
Remote connect to devices and remote access to data are the core functions of both M2M and IoT but they differ in how the data is accessed remotely.
M2M solutions depend on point-to-point communications and use cellular or wired networks to transmit communications whereas IoT solutions rely on Internet Protocol or IP based networks. M2M solutions provide data transfer from one device to another whereas IoT solutions collect and relay data from each device through a cloud or middleware platform. In M2M, devices do not usually rely on internet but in the case of IoT, devices must have an active internet connection.
One of the biggest advantage of IoT solutions over M2M is the ability to have unlimited integrated options unlike that in M2M solutions where the integration options are limited since devices must have corresponding communication protocols.
In general, M2M refers to a standard device-to-device communication and IoT refers to a larger scale that synergies vertical software stacks to manage and automate communication amongst multiple devices.
Data Access and Integration
Though M2M solutions do provide access to data, this data is used for solutions in service management applications. In contrast, IoT solutions provide data access from devices and sensors and integrate the same with other enterprise applications. The data is also extracted as part of big data and analytics to give out actionable insights to decision makers.
In M2M, the solution involves a hardware module embedded in a machine placed at the customer site and these modules communicate via a cellular network to a dedicated software application that is usually based out of the vendor site. This facilitates the device vendor or supplier to have remote access, conduct remote troubleshooting and even carry out remote updates that help reduce deployment of field service technicians and reduce service operations costs in a big way.
In IoT solutions data access and integration has far more reaching consequences and has a much broader objective. The way IoT scores over M2M is that it accommodates not only all the assets, machines and devices that M2M does but also the low-powered sensors which can act as ‘’devices’’ and transmit data out of which valuable insights can be pulled out. Because IoT devices can be integrated into enterprise networks through Internet and Cloud platforms, the data obtained can be analyzed and harnessed to its fullest allowing decision makers to improvize on operations, customer service support, business models and even on costs. This is where IoT creates a massive impact by directly helping enterprises with better business outcomes.
Another great advantage is that since IoT solutions take help of cloud platforms, access to data and insights is easy and can be provided for anyone with authentication and permission. This helps enterprises save on time and implement initiatives independently (function or department wise) as per need.
IoT is appreciated as the better technology because it can also be easily scaled eliminating the need for installing more hardware and additional efforts. As enterprises or organizations grow, their functional and operational requirements also grow, this calls for scalability of services and technologies they are using and IoT technologies can be easily scalable.
Why IoT supersedes M2M
The ability of IoT to go beyond what M2M does functionally is what makes it a much preferred and better technology than M2M. Its ability to integrate to enterprises applications, accommodate a wider variety of devices, its potential to provide a higher level of benefits to enterprises and modulate the business models and business growth of an enterprise is what makes IoT a better technology to bet on.
The common theme between M2M and IoT is their ability to save on service management costs, time, and solve service management issues. IoT provides the luxury to assess issues at both the device level and the system level making it the preferred choice. Not just that, IoT facilitates data analytics helping enterprises unearth valuable insights that can be further used to execute relevant initiatives resulting in incremental benefits to organizations.
The use and reliance on software makes IoT solutions accessible and useful to a large set of stakeholders. Perhaps, the single most elevating factor is the – Universal data visualization, that allows data and insights to be presented through any format – be it desktop, mobile or any other device, to any number of permitted users or stakeholders.
IoT with data analytics not only plays a vital role at a functional or departmental level of an organization but also at the management or decision maker level. Facilitating the availability of valuable insights and actionable intelligence raises the interest of CXOs and helps redefine business operations and business models.
Both M2M and IoT have the same fundamentals, they operate through devices that communicate and transfer data. But the mode and method of device communication and the use of data gathered is what differs IoT from M2M. While M2M is a technology that has considerable relevance in certain functional areas of an organization IoT has gone beyond existing borders to create a revolution of sort as it has the capabilities to have a massive impact on the various functional areas of an organization. It is the technology that is fast changing the way organizations perceive and conduct their businesses.