Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is a communication network built with several machines interconnected together. Machines not necessarily be computers, it could be any electronic device with rudimentary communication features. The established communication is either wired or wireless – not much emphasis is laid upon the medium of communication. M2M is the foundation for Internet-of-things (IoT), the next big thing that has arrived in the IT sector. Several applications are developed based on the M2M infrastructure in various domains such as logistics, inventory management, robotics, traffic control, supply chain management, fleet management, and healthcare. The success of M2M, or its derived technology IoT, is based on the successful adoption of IPv6 in the technological world, which brings in many of IP addresses enough for all the devices present now and the ones coming in the future.
How does it Work?
Machines have been communicating with each other for quite some time now, but the scale of communication was limited between three or more machines (read computers) to achieve a certain specific task. M2M architecture takes this concept of communication, brings sensors that collect specific information into the picture, which in turn are connected to a remote management center. The communication present in M2M infrastructure is usually referred to as “telemetric communication” which was developed way back in the 70s. Theodore G. Paraskevakos was the first person, who conceptualized the communication system and patented it in the US in 1973. The information is collected from the sensors associated with the devices and the data is fed to a remote management center for more analysis. The analysis reports help the grid to optimal utilization of the resources. For illustration, a wind power station is implemented with M2M setup, wherein each fan stores the vital information such as wind speed, rpm, and power generation per rotation. Alongside, it stores the vital information of its neighboring fans as well. M2M communication aids in communicating between the fans, through which they are aware of each other's state of health, power-generating capacity, scheduled maintenance etc. Now, all the data is fed to the remote monitoring center for monitoring and analysis. Imagine a situation wherein, a fan fails or is due for maintenance, it is quickly communicated to the neighboring fans. The other fans bump up the production by a slight amount and collectively help achieve the demand. Also, the technical team is well aware of the scheduled maintenance of the fans and preventive steps are taken, so as to avoid fluctuation in power production.
Application of M2M
M2M applications are spread across various industries and domains such as production, operations, logistics, supply chain, healthcare, robotics and more. Several large industries are implementing the M2M infrastructure to build a robust IoT setup, which is the current most, thought after technology. Conglomerates like GE, BP, and Shell are reportedly investing massive amount in M2M and IoT. Wireless carriers are the natural market for M2M and Big Data solutions, as the business is data intensively primarily because of calling and data usage tracking. Also, healthcare is yet another industry that can be reliant on M2M and IoT services. Energy management as mentioned earlier is the largest beneficiary of M2M infrastructure. It helps in building smart power grids that delivers key information such as peak demand and assists in creating actionable decisions that are carried
Auto Insurance is also the largest beneficiary of M2M communication network as these sensors are pre-installed in each vehicle that is insured. It will provide boundless information such as driving habit of the customer, the status of parts, fuel consumption etc. are fed to the remote management center that analyzes the behavior of individual vehicle performance and help the insurance companies plan well ahead.