What is the difference between M2M and IoT?

November 25, 2019

Once a trend, the Internet of Things has become a reality that is changing the world in which we live. However, buzzwords can sometimes lead to confusion and cause questions to arise. So, are IoT and M2M the same thing? What is the difference between them?

Interestingly enough, this same question has spurred a discussion on Quora, and has been tackled by professionals within the industry. Some use both terms interchangeably, whereas others are adamant that they are not to be confused.

First of all, we can be certain that these two concepts do indeed have different meanings. Most conclude that Internet of Things is a broader concept, which will evolve from M2M and other technologies.

Simply put, Machine-to-Machine is where “Machines” use network resources to communicate with remote application infrastructure for the purposes of monitoring and control, either of the “machine” itself, or the surrounding environment. The potential interconnection of smart objects and the way we interact with the environment is what The Internet of Things is envisioned to be, where the physical world will merge with the digital world.

In an attempt to explain the relationship between both concepts, Matt Hatton compares M2M to the plumbing of Internet of Things. M2M is what provides The Internet of Things with the connectivity that enables capabilities, which would not be possible without it.

M2M with Internet protocols could be considered a subset of Internet of Things and understood from a more vertical and closed point of view. On the other hand, the Internet of Things encompasses a more horizontal and meaningful approach where vertical applications are pulled together to address the needs of many people.