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What is Machine to Machine (M2M) Communication?

The Internet of Things requires Machine to Machine (M2M) communications in order to work. But what exactly is M2M? What does it entail? How can it be used in business?

Defining M2M

What M2M is is any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans. It is predominantly used for remote monitoring of either the machine itself or the surrounding environment.

What is the relationship between M2M and IoT?

M2M’s definition might sound quite similar to IoT, and while people may blur the two together, they are distinctly different. M2M is purely the connection between the different devices in a network, which enables IoT capabilities and solutions. Consider M2M the base level of communication, while IoT is using that communication to provide a solution, be it to industry, people, or the environment. For example, an M2M connection between a fire alarm, gas appliance and phone would enable an IoT solution whereby if the fire alarm goes off, the gas appliance will be shut off and an alert sent to your phone.

How M2M Works

The main elements involved are sensors (usually the kind that can send telemetry wirelessly), a wireless network and a computer connected to the Internet. The following process must be generally applied to create M2M communications systems:

  1. The sensors must be placed in strategic locations to gather the data required.
  2. Sensors must be connected to send real-time data to a wireless network connected to the internet.
  3. People or programs must then monitor this incoming data-stream, typically using computers loaded with specialised software.

What is M2M’s Business Application?

M2M communication is an important aspect of warehouse management, remote control, robotics, traffic control, logistic services, supply chain management, fleet management and telemedicine. For instance, product restocking is changing as vending machines message the distributor when a particular item is running low. Construction and mining is seeing increased equipment efficiencies achieved with remote sensors detecting when parts begin to fail and remote sensors detect important parameters at an oil drill site and adjusting on-site equipment to maximize efficiency. Utility companies use M2M communications, both in harvesting gas and oil products and in billing customers. Healthcare is changing with special monitors that gather information about patient’s heartrate or medicine intake.

These are just a few of the applications of M2M communication. Its future as a flexible technology that uses common equipment in new ways is bright: every day, businesses, engineers, scientists, doctors and many others are finding new ways to use this new communications tool. M2M communications has the power to reinvent business.

Making M2M Work in Your Business

M2M creates an opportunity to elevate your business to the next level and create long-term competitive advantage. Currently, many businesses around the world are considering and implementing M2M solutions to address production, performance, quality and cost challenges. Now that you know what M2M is, you might even consider implementing it yourself.

Here’s what to think about when considering integrating M2M into your business:

  1. Think strategically – figure out what data is best to quantify and where value can be added to the business.
  2. Master a structure – activating and managing potentially tens of thousands of devices should be structured to be simple and quick, while data must be reliable and verifiable.
  3. Simplify complex solutions – align your device capabilities to the user and business to create a holistic and comprehensive approach.  

With our consultancy services, Vita Enterprise Solutions can help assess your business needs and synergistic opportunities for M2M to remake processes from the ground up and improve products, customer support and your company’s bottom line. Contact Vita Enterprise Solutions on 1300 139 310 or enquire online.

 

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