We’ve heard a lot of talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) and all its benefits for subscribers and service providers alike, but there has been an increasing level of confusion going around the communication service provider industry between IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This confusion stems from misconceptions when referring to both the similarities and differences between the two distinct concepts.
It’s time to set the record straight. Here are the key differences between IoT and M2M:
What’s most important for operators to understand is that while M2M and IoT both refer to devices communicating with each other, M2M refers to isolated instances of device-to-device communication, and IoT refers to a grander scale, synergizing vertical software stacks to automate and manage communications between multiple devices.
Operators that want to support IoT must now position themselves to be as vendor-agnostic as possible, managing multiple connections from varying communication protocols so that their subscribers can enjoy all the newest gadgets that fit into their smart-home society. There are some complications when managing varying standards, but as long as there’s an IP connection, and the right software to support wired or wireless communication, devices within IoT can communicate with each other.
The IEEE has recently released its draft for the wireless network protocol 802.11ah. This amendment to the 2007-released 802.11 standard is set to be the mechanism that unifies the IoT using lower bandwidth, lower power, but with larger reach frequency band. With change coming, it’s crucial now more than ever to understand the difference between IoT and M2M.