What is M2M?

Back to glossary

M2M stands for Machine to Machine communication and it is the direct connection between two or more devices. There are endless applications of M2M technology, including payment terminals, pet tracking, smart street lighting, and many, many more.

Modern Machine to Machine communication has evolved into a system of networks in which data is traversed between devices. Information is sent from one device (or machine) via a central hub, before it reaches another device such as a mobile or computer. By traversing data between devices in this way, we are able to automate tasks and manage our operations remotely, increasing productivity.

Over the past 2 decades, mobile networks have expanded around the globe and the speed of M2M connectivity has greatly increased. This has worked hand-in-hand with the rapid growth of IoT technologies that provide remote, fast solutions to end-user issues.

How does M2M technology work?

All M2M solutions require an end-device that collects data (usually via a sensor or tracker), some form of connectivity to traverse the data, and another machine that receives this data. Once your second machine has received the data, it is either interpreted by software, people or the device itself, or it is relayed onto another machine.

A good example of M2M in the real-world would be a smart fridge. Smart fridges use sensors to analyse the contents of your fridge and ensure that you never forget to restock. When you are running low on a specific item, the fridge will add it to a virtual shopping list which will be automatically sent to your smartphone. In this situation, the data being traversed is related to the items on your virtual shopping list. Similarly, your smart fridge can analyse increases in temperature. If it detects a sudden rise, it will send the temperature data to your smartphone in the form of an alert. This way you can react and ensure that your fridge is closed properly.

Most M2M systems are usually made up of some or all of the following:

  • Sensors
  • Wi-Fi or mobile communications link
  • RFID (radio frequency identification) or NFC (near-field communication)
  • Computing software that helps a device make informed decisions

Machine-to-Machine connectivity

All M2M solutions require some form of connectivity to operate. Although some wired connections are considered to be M2M connections, most are wireless. The two most common forms of wireless M2M connectivity are via Wi-Fi and via the mobile networks.

Wi-Fi enables machines to connect with other machines that are on the same local network as one another. This is a very simple and cost-effective solution for businesses looking to deploy an M2M solution in one single building. However, as is the case with most M2M deployments, your devices aren’t usually located all under one roof.

M2M SIM cards allow your machines to connect via the mobile networks. This enables you to deploy your devices anywhere in the world where there is cellular connectivity. For this reason, connecting your machines via the mobile networks is the most popular method of deploying an M2M solution. Solutions such as fleet tracking, digital motorway signage and remote CCTV etc. simply wouldn’t work without a mobile network connection.

Explore our M2M & IoT solutions

Our M2M & IoT solutions

Where is M2M technology used?

M2M technology is used all around the world in every industry. It’s almost impossible for a company to run without utilising an M2M application.

It can be found in all of these industries and more:


In medicine, M2M technology is being used to monitor patients’ health remotely. This could be on a hospital ward or when they’re recovering at home. It can also be used to dispense medicine so that it’s distributed on time, to the right people.


M2M technology, combined with IoT, has helped forge new methods of payment and billing within applications such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Digital wallets have played a big role in the widespread adoption of financial M2M processes.


Whether it’s security for the office or your home, M2M technology can help keep any location under surveillance. Ring cameras and smart doorbells are a great example of how M2M technology has been adapted to be used in a smart home setting.