IoT Knowledge Center

What's the difference between IoT and M2M?

Palomi Dey Sarkar / 22 Nov 2020 / IOT Basics

Since this advanced world of the 21st century is filled with brand new concepts. The rapid digital advancements in IoT happen constantly as per the trend. The same happens in the case of Machine-to-Machine Communication and the Internet of Things. While these two elements are driving forward the digital enterprise network, within the tech discourse, both are hailed almost as equal. However, their area of focus and objectives attained by both are different. Their operational model is also varied.  


What is the Internet of Things?  

The IoT or Internet of Things, as we know it, is a broad system of digital interconnectivity using devices that are embedded with sensors or unique identifiers. These are also known as UID. With IoT gateways, the devices become capable of transmitting information with the help of the internet, WI-FI, Bluetooth, or some other network. There is no need for any kind of human intervention here. The devices are converged with microelectromechanical systems, microservices, or even some kind of advanced wireless technology. It is employed widely in several industrial sectors like banking, automotive for vehicular communication, supply, and logistics for supply chain tracking, in management of warehouses, and more.  


Using the IoT, communication is done over network and data exchange. The “thing” in the term Internet of Things refers to the many hardware devices which can be identified uniquely through a network-based platform over the infrastructure of the internet.   


What is M2M? 

Also known as Machine-to-Machine, M2M is the foundation of the sophisticated connectivity of devices that people normally enjoy today. This connection is made point-to-point, in between two network hardware so that information is transmitted via the advanced public network technology like cellular internet or the Ethernet. One of the original places where M2M was used was the Sensor Telemetry. For decades now, business enterprises and organizations have been using M2M technology to motor crucial factors like energy usage and consumption, moisture, pressure levels, temperature, etc. ATM’s are another great example of M2M use. The internal computer in an ATM is consistently using this technology to communicate with host processors. This processor then routes transactions to the right bank account. 


The bank will then send back codes for approval through the hosting processor and this is how the transactions get completed. The technology of M2M has a decade of record for improving the ability of the world to communicate and interact, as well as do transactions efficiently over long distances. 


The Main Difference   

It is important to understand clearly that IoT is a straight subset of the technology of M2M. Communication is possible between the machinery/devices without any requirement for human input. This, by definition, makes it an ideal system for M2M communication. However, as IoT continues to expand, the potential and power of M2M also progresses and grows. One major difference between these two concepts is in the point to point communicative mode. With IoT development, the system is typically situated with devices within a massive global cloud-based network so that the integration of large-scale data and information is possible. More sophisticated and futuristic applications can also be utilized.   


Next comes the matter of scalability.  The designing of IoT is extremely scalable since the hardware can be added to a connected network and then implemented within the systems existing, without any difficulty. M2M networks are very labor-intensive too when it comes to setting it up and maintaining it. Every connection is made for every device.  IoT also refers to wireless devices but M2M might not have any wireless connection at all. Many consider the wireless nature of IoT as a blessing while for some it is a curse. Since less technological maintenance is needed, as with Ethernet or even Wi-Fi, it can encounter problems of its own.  


Which is the Best Choice and Why? 

For today’s global application scenario, both the IoT devices and M2M are important to form connectivity between global devices. This is almost an all-in-all solution, fitting everything. Hence, you can choose the best medium according to your business suitability and requirement.  


The technology of M2M is best when - 

Point to point communication is needed to be developed between devices or machines.

The application has a limited set of distinct machines for communication, the ones which need a fast and reliable execution.

The application has to be operational, even if there is no Wi-Fi connection. 

The application does not require the parameter of swift scalability. 

The network-integrated devices have to be isolated for some security issues. 


IoT is the supreme choice for those whose – 

Applications need real-time and quick syncing, many devices at once and together, based on a networking cloud system. 

Devices or hardware has fast internet access. 

Devices on the network require the option of communicating with other many other devices and all simultaneously. 

Application has smooth scalability so that it can be used by many users. 

The application needs data and device compatibility by following standards.



These are key technologies in the market today. In the coming years, they will develop further, creating new opportunities and leveraging the strength of technology and its applicability all around. Both are highly efficient, which is bound to take the country forward with more innovations and elements.