What is the M2M Communication?

Today we are talking about a new concept related to Industry 4.0 that, in recent times, is becoming increasingly important, as  the rest of the technologies in this area. This is the M2M or Machine to Machine communication.

The machine to machine concept represents any technology that allows two devices to exchange information with each other, for example, communicate and send data. The communication that occurs between the machines or devices is autonomous, there is no need for human intervention for this data exchange to take place.

M2M connectivity is related to the Internet of Things (IoT ). Both are part of the same concept and complement each other. Thanks to IoT, a system of machines or interrelated devices can be connected wirelessly, and exchange and analyze data automatically in the cloud. In short, IoT is enabled by integrating many M2M devices and using cloud web platforms to process all that data.

What types of connectivity are used in M2M?

There are different types of connectivity between machines, and it is possible that you already know almost everyone. But, what are the most used? First, we have the RFID , or radiofrequency identification. The limitation of this type of connectivity is that it has a maximum range of 10 meters. On the other hand, there are Bluetooth and WiFi that also have a limited range, from 10 to 20 meters in the case of Bluetooth and 50 meters in the case of WiFi. These types of connectivity are short range if we compare them with the following. Connectivity using low frequency has a range of up to 1,000 km and the GSM network (using SIM cards) or the satellite is worldwide. As you can see, there are many different options that allow us adapting to each problem.

Some interesting applications of M2M

The applications and areas in which connectivity between machines can be applied and used are very wide.

For example, the connected vending machines allow the distributor to know their replacement status and to notify in cases which some product runs out.

It is also very useful in the ​health area. Telemedicine is a concept already implemented in some places and  has meant great improvements in this area. In hospitals, processes are automated to improve efficiency and safety, for example, using devices capable of reacting faster than humans. If a patient has a drop in vital signs and is connected to an M2M device, the machine can automatically administer extra oxygen before the hospital staff reaches it.

Likewise, it is also used in the industry , allowing machines to be connected to each other and sending data each other. With this data, they can optimize processes automatically, notify when a machine has a breakdown or even self-repair.

In general we can establish the following industrial applications:

  • Automated maintenance
  • Procedure for requesting spare parts
  • End of process notice
  • Data collection for processing by other equipment
  • Intelligent stock control
  • Implementation of just-in-time systems

More and more companies are starting to use this type of connectivity that improves the efficiency level and allows us to address great production challenges which until now were unthinkable.