Machine to Machine (M2M): what it is and how it works
Machine to Machine (M2M) is a broad concept that can be used to describe any technology that allows networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans.
M2M technology was first adopted in industrial environments and later found applications in health, business, insurance and more. It is also the basis of the Internet of Things.
In this article, we’ve decided to show you in detail what Machine to Machine is, how this phenomenon is transforming business, and how you can make use of it in your company.
Check it out!
Machine to Machine: What is M2M Communication
The roots of M2M are firmly planted in the manufacturing industry, where technologies and services based on this concept help remotely manage and control equipment data.
Although the origins of the acronym are not very clear, the first use of machine-to-machine communication is often credited to Theodore Paraskevakos, who invented and patented technology related to data transmission via telephone lines, the basis for the modern caller ID.
The main objective of M2M technology is to access sensor data and transmit it to a network. M2M systems typically use public access networks and methods – for example, cellular or Ethernet – for the sake of economy.
Key components of an M2M system include sensors, RFID, a cellular or Wi-Fi communication link, and autonomous computing software programmed to help a network device interpret data and make decisions. These M2M applications translate the data, which can trigger pre-programmed automated actions.
One of the most well-known types of machine-to-machine communication is telemetry, which has been used since the beginning of the last century to transmit operational data. Telemetry pioneers first used telephone lines and, later, radio waves, to transmit performance measurements obtained from monitoring instruments at remote sites.
The Internet and improved standards for wireless technology have expanded the role of science, engineering, and manufacturing telemetry for everyday use in products such as heating units, electric meters, and Internet-connected devices such as appliances.
In addition to being able to remotely monitor equipment and systems, the key benefits of M2M include:
- reduce costs by minimizing equipment maintenance and downtime;
- boost revenue, revealing new business opportunities;
- and better customer service by proactively monitoring and repairing the equipment before it fails and only when necessary, for example.
M2M and the Internet of Things
One of the ways to understand the concept of Machine to Machine (M2M) is to understand how it differs from the Internet of Things (IoT).
Both terms refer to the communication of connected devices, but M2M systems are often isolated, independent network equipment. Internet of Things take M2M to the next level, bringing together separate systems in a large connected ecosystem.
M2M systems use peer-to-peer communications between machines, sensors, and hardware over wired or wireless networks, while IoT systems rely on IP-based networks to send data collected from connected devices to gateways, cloud platforms, or middleware.
Data collected from M2M devices is used by service management applications, while IoT data is typically integrated with enterprise systems to improve business performance across multiple groups. Another way to see this is that M2M affects the way companies operate, while IoT does this and affects end users.
Some applications of Machine to Machine
Here are some examples of how to apply Machine to Machine in a wide range of business types.
Machine-to-machine communication is often used for remote monitoring. When refueling products, for example, a vending machine can send a message to the distributor’s network or machine when an item is underloaded to send a recharge.
Warehouse Management and Supply Chain
A tracer and asset tracking facilitator, M2M is vital in warehouse management and supply chain management.
Utilities often rely on M2M devices and applications not only to collect energy, such as oil and gas, but also to bill customers – through the use of smart meters – and to detect factors in the workplace such as pressure, temperature, and status equipment and more.
In telemedicine, M2M devices can allow real-time monitoring of patients’ vital statistics, dispensing medication when needed, or tracking health care assets.
M2M is also an important aspect of remote control, robotics, traffic control, security, logistics, and fleet and automotive management.
M2M communication is also important in tracking and regulating inventory across all types of businesses. Since all data pertaining to the number of items in stock are stored within computer systems,##$_SPLIT$##there is a reduced scope for theft and other illicit practices.
How to insert Machine to Machine in your company
Here are three basic steps you should take to get the concept of Machine to Machine into your business.
1. Raise the possibilities of M2M communication in your business
The first step is to verify machine-to-machine communication opportunities in the company. This is not always very visible, which requires some technical knowledge.
However, a dive into the processes (production, communication etc.) helps a lot. The key is to look at sequences of activities and equipment that remain poorly integrated despite the existing technological devices.
2. Create an M2M Project
Then arrange the scope of an M2M project. This project is improving as the members go deeper into the theme and also discover tools, services and resources that can be used.
3. Get specialized help
As the technical intricacies of Machine to Machine technology and methods are broad and allow for a number of combinations and possibilities, the best choice is to seek expert help.
Good advice on innovation and technology can help a lot. The companies that work with this concept have qualified personnel, tools and experience in the subject. And they can help improve the project and indicate what can be done.
How about, did you understand what Machine to Machine (M2M) is and the benefits that your company can get? Leave a comment!