June 15, 2021
The Differences Between IoT Vs M2M - Explained

The Differences Between IoT Vs M2M - Explained

Read time:
4 Minutes

Machine to Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are both very similar forms of communication.

However, if your business is thinking of upgrading to the IoT or M2M, it is important to understand the differences and similarities between machine to machine and the internet of things.

In this article, we’ll help you understand more about these two modern forms of business communication.

What is M2M?

M2M, which stands for machine to machine, is a form of (usually wireless) communication between two different machines or devices. The most common use of M2M is using SIM cards, which allow the machines to communicate to one another.

With machine 2 machine communication, very little data is transferring between the two machines. This data usually contains pieces of information about the machine, such as a status update, or maybe a command. 

Machine 2 Machine diagram
M2M Diagram

M2M is very often used to increase automation. For example, if you managed a production line, and you wanted to have one machine haul production of another if it detected a problem. Using M2M, this process could be automated.

What is the IoT?

The internet of things (IoT) is a wide network of connections that span the globe. These connections are often made up of machines communicating to web servers and platforms.

Internet of things diagram
IoT Diagram

IoT is quite similar to M2M, as it does allow machines to communicate. However, with the IoT, you can control and monitor your machines remotely from anywhere in the world.

This network of M2M connections is what makes up the IoT.

Many businesses use the internet of things to remotely monitor and control their devices and machines, such as solar lighting towers.

IoT vs M2M - The Differences

If your business is thinking of upgrading to the IoT, or you’re researching M2M, then understanding the difference between them is very important. Here’s the main differences between the IoT and M2M.


IoT is much more scalable. This is because the IoT is made up of lots of different connections, all talking to servers or sending their data across cellular connections.

Scaling your business on the IoT is quite a lot easier, as it is often a case of just adding connections to your existing internet of things platform. 

Machine to machine is often harder to scale, as both machines on each end of your M2M connection need to be connected to one another. However, the scalability of this varies depending on how your M2M network is configured.


One of the biggest benefits of the internet of things is that it uses cloud technology. With centralised networks and inter-machine communication, you can have a wide overview of your business from anywhere in the world.

With M2M, you are somewhat bound by the location of the machines and their physical connection. Although, this often comes as a benefit in smaller locations such as warehouses or production lines.

Warehouses often use M2M & IoT

M2M Vs IoT - The Similarities

Although M2M and IoT have their differences, at their core, they’re very similar. With similar technologies 


Most IoT connections are made wirelessly, often using a cellular data connection. Using a wireless connection, it allows machines and devices from across the globe to send and receive data, using a centralised IoT platform. Machine 2 Machine communication also uses a similar technology.

Both technologies use fixed-IP SIM cards, which sit in the device and send data to other machines and servers. These specialised fixed-IP IoT SIM cards are unlike normal phone SIM cards, and are specifically designed for machine 2 machine connectivity.


Both machine 2 machine and IoT connections send data between devices or machines. It is this data that can be interpolated by another machine or a human. Businesses that use the IoT or M2M often use the data that comes from these connections to make decisions.

IoT Vs M2M - Side-by-Side Comparison

We’ve made a very handy comparison of M2M vs IoT. You can see some direct comparisons between the two technologies.

M2M vs IoT Comparison
M2M vs IoT Comparison

Applications of Machine to Machine (M2M)

Many businesses across the globe are choosing to upgrade to machine-to-machine communications to lower their overheads and increase their efficiency.

Here’s some examples of the applications of M2M and how it’s benefiting businesses.

Warehouse robots

Companies such as Amazon and Ocado are using M2M in their warehouses. With multiple robots on the warehouse floor, they can all communicate with one another to ensure they’re operating efficiency and without issues.

By enabling machine 2 machine with warehouse robots, companies can reduce their staffing costs and streamline their picking and packing processes.

Automated production lines

With automation, your business can reduce lag and human error by removing the human element of production. 

Lots of manufacturing businesses are using machines that communicate with one another. These machines are often production line equipment that can monitor the progress of specific parts of the manufacturing process, and communicate this with other machines on the same line. If any issues arise, this can alert managers and halt production so as not to waste time or assets.

Applications of the Internet of Things (IoT)

You might not know it, but chances are you’ve already seen or been involved with some kind of IoT communication.

Construction equipment

Equipment such as lighting towers or heavy duty plant equipment often use the IoT to send and receive data from managers or a centralised location.

For example, Prolectric use our Fixed-IP IoT SIM cards to keep track of their lighting towers across the UK. With one centralised IoT platform, they can remotely monitor their entire fleet of towers from their head office.

With these fixed-IP SIM cards, they keep their costs low, without having to employ hundreds of engineers to work on their towers. 

Fleet management & automation

Another application of the internet of things is vehicle or fleet tracking. Haulage companies operate on fine margins, with an increasing importance on fuel saving, time management and efficiency.

Using our GPS tracking and IoT SIM cards, you can remotely manage your entire fleet from one centralised location, or even from your smartphone. With real-time data and GPS location information fed back to your IoT platform, it helps you make data-driven decisions.

Machine 2 Machine and the internet of things are truly transforming the way we live, work and communicate. From smart speakers to manufacturing, construction and even self-driving cars.

To learn more about how your business could benefit from our fixed-IP SIM cards or IoT solution, get in touch today.

If you have any questions, or would like some more information about how Bytes Digital can help your business, email hello@bytesdigital.co.uk give us a call on 03331 301 021.

Or, get your free, no obligations online quote using the button below...

Online Quote ›
Fancy some more reading?

Check out more of our blog posts, case studies and more—you never know, you might find something interesting...