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