M2M (machine to machine)

At a glance

In the process machine to machine, terminal devices communicate directly with each other, i.e. information is exchanged directly between the devices. In the Internet of Things, this data exchange from machine to machine is essential, but other applications in industrial or private remote monitoring and control are also made possible or facilitated by M2M processes.

The Functionality of Machine to Machine Communication

M2M processes first of all need a way for their communication, and there are basically three different approaches available to devices.

For end users and many smaller companies, data exchange takes place via communication networks. Communication in mobile networks is the most common way of exchanging information between machines over long distances. At short distances, wireless communication can take place via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or ZigBee, for example. Information can also be exchanged by cable.

The other two ways of exchanging data are the data end point and the data integration point. Both points work together wirelessly and while data integration points are server systems, the data end points are often vending machines. For example, an ATM could communicate as a data endpoint that the banknotes need to be replenished.

The basic principle of machine-to-machine communication is not entirely new, because it merely thinks ahead with new means of telemetry. In classic telemetry, data is sent from sensors or the devices themselves to a central collection point. There, the data is evaluated by humans or by a computer and finally sent to other devices where it is applied.

Telemetry 4.0 - how the Internet is revolutionizing machine communication

The special feature of this communication as a further conceived form of telemetry is the widespread dissemination of the necessary technologies and the resulting quasi area-wide accessibility. Sensors, simple computer systems and the Internet are the basis for better and faster data exchange from machine to machine. This direct form of the Internet of Things is relevant for the end consumer as well as for industry, administration and trade.

From large fleet management to e-medicine and remote diagnostics to monitoring and controlling machines in production and traffic control, this form of communication simplifies so many processes and automates them that it is soon perceived as an invisible standard in many areas.

A good example of the rapid spread and acceptance of automated machine communication processes is the wireless payment between the digital wallet in the smartphone and the POS system. The implementation of M2M communication is of course also essential for the smart home.

The advantages of machine to machine applications at a glance

In practical use, Machine-to-machine impresses with its low energy consumption, time-controllable data exchange, location-based notifications and continuous data exchange.

Important standards for the use of M2M and the security of applications were awarded by the European Institute for Telecommunications Standards. The most important points here are scalability, anonymity (if desired, the identity of a device must be concealed) and the creation of a log for logging all activities.

IoT and M2M - Differences and Application Scenarios

The Internet of things within one's own four walls is revolutionized by direct data exchange in real time from machine to machine, because communication is not only instantaneous in the home, but can also be controlled remotely from the smartphone by the end user. The boundaries between machine-to-machine communication and the Internet of Things are fluid here. Strictly speaking, there are sharp boundaries, because M2M takes place in closed systems without human intervention and is hardware-based. However, an integration point of IoT into a closed machine system is necessary in many applications in order to make use of the advantages of machine communication.