02 Aug

M2M vs. Internet of Things

Today I was reading the agenda for Mobilize, where I read the following statement:

The Internet of Things… The M2M or “Internet of Things” proposition opens up a vast new array of opportunity for carriers, entrepreneurs and consumer experiences. We look at some of the biggest markets out there – medicine, consumer goods, automotive and more. We ask what needs to be done to catalyze the opportunity and what returns these markets will yield.

But equating M2M to Internet of Things (IoT) is not proper.

M2M is defined as the technologies that allow machines, typically (small) computing sensors that perform specific tasks (intelligence) to communicate or relay information as needed typically over simple protocols but more recently over Internet protocols (IP) over wireless or wireline or even SMS.

But the Internet of Things is so much more than M2M. IoT it is about interacting with the objects around us; even static non-intelligent objects and augmenting such interactions with context as provided by geo-location, time and so on. Even non-intelligent/non-connected devices can be brought into the IoT via the handset or smartphone serving as a gateway to the Internet. It is about interacting for example with the soda can via barcodes or with the movie poster via NFC, or with an advert on the newspaper via a shortcode, or with the book that you are reading, again via barcodes or even NFC. In the case of M2M, communicating with machines such as the energy-meters or sensors or even your refrigerator via IP over wireless or wireline.

So M2M is not the Internet of Things, but M2M is a subset of the Internet of Things.

(Note: @tamberg responded with “M2M with non-Internet protocols lies outside IoT, so maybe M2M and IoT are intersecting rather than subsets.” For which is true where the interesting set is the subset. At the end my point is that there is a fundamental difference here and M2M and IoT must not be confused as the same thing.

Mobilize is an awesome event with great lineup, but mis-information is not a good thing. 🙂

This post was picked up in Quora — see Whats the difference between the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and “Machine to Machine” (M2M)?


6 thoughts on “M2M vs. Internet of Things

  1. Nice points, and ultimately someone will have to address that there. Or, at least use a business card to show them that IoT is really more fun than just paying transaction fees and protocols.

  2. vs. Web of Things

    If the Internet of Things is a global network of computers, sensors and actuators connected through Internet protocols, then the Web of Things consists of RESTful Web services that measure or manipulate physical properties.

    Another definition can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_of_Things


    PS. M2M with non-Internet protocols lies outside IoT, so maybe M2M and IoT are intersecting rather than subsets.

  3. @tamberg: “intersecting rather than subsets.” Yes I see it, not a complete subset but where the intersecting set is the subset.

  4. I get the impression that M2M is brought in as it’s an established market and the agenda is to make future M2M compatible with IoT/WoT. No point starting from scratch.

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