Over the years I have had many discussions to explain the difference between Machine-to-Machine (M2M) or Machine Type Communication (MTC) as 3GPP refers to them and the Internet of Things (IoT). Even after explaining the differences, I am often told that this is not correct. Hence I am putting this out here. Please feel free to express your views in the comments section of the original blog post here.
Lets take an example of an office with 3 floors. Lets assume that each floor has a coffee machine like the one in this picture or something similar. Lets assume different scenarios:
Scenario 1: No connectivity
Scenario 2: Basic connectivity (M2M)
Scenario 3: Advanced connectivity (IoT)
Scenario 4: Intelligent Devices (Advanced IoT)
If we take the coffee machine from scenario 3 and add intelligence to it, it can even know about the inventory. How much of coffee beans, chocolate powder, milk powder, etc is in stock and when would they need ordering again. It can have an employee UI (User Interface) that can be used by employees to give feedback on which coffee beans are more/less popular or what drinks are popular. This info can be used by the machines to order the supplies, taking into account the price, availability, etc.
In many cases, API's would be available for people to build services on top of the basic available services to make life easier. Someone for example can build a service that if a cup is already at the dispenser and has been there for at least 2 minutes (so you know its not being used by someone else) then the person can choose/order their favourite drink from their seat so he/she doesn't have to wait for 30 seconds at the machine.
If you think about this further you will notice that in this scenario the only requirement for the human is to clean the coffee machine, top it up, etc. In future these can be automated with robots carrying out these kinds of jobs. There would be no need for humans to do these menial tasks.
I really like this slide from InterDigital as it captures the difference between M2M and IoT very well, especially in the light of the discussion above.
With the current M2M, we have:
IoT is Communication to/from things which offer new services via cloud / context / collaboration / cognition technologies.
With evolution to IoT, we have:
Let me know if you agree.
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