Machine-to-machine (M2M) is a process that implies wireless communication between two or more physical assets. This system typically consists of wireless sensors that are installed in each device, allowing them to exchange data with each other automatically or as requested by an application.
It’s like forming a team of computers, machines, and devices. Each one contributes a set of capabilities, and together, the team accomplishes its objectives much more efficiently.
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M2M Technology Applications
While the M2M communication process may sound very technical and complicated, it’s more common than you think. In fact, the process is the very foundation of the Internet of Things (IoT), which connects any smart device to the Internet. As such, M2M communication is affecting our everyday lives, and below are three common areas where we use it.
Home Security Systems
The fact that you can control your home appliances remotely has to do with M2M communication. Every time someone rings your doorbell, you get alerted through your phone even when you’re at the office. That’s your smart doorbell sending sensory data to your mobile device over the Internet.
Smart home devices aren’t only for securing the home. Parents who need to be far away from their families can also use it as a means to communicate with their children. Even when they are far away, they still get to see their kids do their daily routines. Watch a video here:
Your smartphone can also interact with your car, which can then communicate with other vehicles, aided by M2M technology and IoT. These means of wireless communication allow automobiles to notify one another about road and weather conditions in a specific area. Drivers can even get alerted when a collision is probable. As a result, the daily routine of commuting or driving becomes a lot safer.
Selected healthcare services can already be delivered remotely, thanks to M2M technology. Healthcare professionals no longer have to be physically present to serve a patient. Instead, they can monitor the patient’s vital statistics and medicine intake using M2M-enabled devices.
Telemedicine also helps improve the number of patients a doctor can handle, thereby hastening the delivery of healthcare services. Dermatologists in San Diego, for instance, can treat 50% more patients without having to see them face to face. The doctors only had to review patient information and images sent by referring physicians.
What Types of Connectivity Are Used in M2M?
The first iterations of M2M technology used wired connections such as phone lines to make devices communicate with each other. Direct radio signals were also used in older M2M systems.
At present, machines can already use Wi-Fi, mobile data, and other wireless networks to communicate. Smart cars, for instance, can connect to your phone’s mobile network. On the other hand, home security systems can tap into your home’s Wi-Fi network. The use of wireless connection in M2M systems also makes design more flexible, as distance is no longer an issue.
Regardless of the type of connectivity used, the important thing is that the device is able to communicate with the appropriate database and vice versa.
There are more real-world applications of M2M technology in different industries, including construction, architecture, point-of-sale (PoS) device manufacturing, and logistics. But you see the point
— M2M communication is so intricately woven into our daily lives that it’s difficult to imagine life without it.
Vending machines, the ever-reliable source of snacks, are monitored using M2M devices to ensure that stocks get replenished timely and that temperature levels are just right. Even alarm clocks can detect weather conditions and monitor traffic congestion. They can then automatically set the time you need to wake up so you can make it on time for your nine o’clock meeting.
Lastly, telemedicine is proving useful when people need to stay home to avoid coronavirus infection. People can still get the healthcare service they need remotely, as long as it’s not life-threatening.