What’s the Difference Between IoT and M2M?

Eseye author


IoT Hardware and Connectivity Specialists


Did you know that the search ‘What’s the difference between IoT and M2M?’ yields some 12,200,000 results? This question is commonly asked as searchers grapple between the two similar concepts and look to understand what exactly sets them apart.

What is M2M?

M2M stands for “Machine-to-Machine.” It refers to the automatic, point-to-point communication between devices, machines, or systems without the need for human intervention. For example, machines with remote sensors continuously transmitting data to a central system over the internet or local communication infrastructure.

The goal of this predominantly hardware-based technology is to increase communications and automate the collection and distribution of information.

Many M2M systems are wired, but they can use proprietary networks as well as 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE. What’s important to note is that M2M devices don’t necessarily rely on an internet connection, making them perfect for static machines, particularly where the machine is positioned in areas of low mobile network signal such as in rural locations or underground.

What is IoT?

IoT stands for “Internet of Things” and refers to a network of interconnected physical objects or “things” that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies, allowing them to collect and exchange data with each other and with central systems over the internet. The concept of IoT involves connecting everyday objects and devices to the digital world, enabling them to communicate, share information, and perform tasks without requiring direct human involvement.

When we say “things” we are referring to unique hardware devices. Anything that can be connected from your toothbrush, your fitness tracker, right down to your lawnmower. IoT can be applied to any industry and is enabling us to lead smarter lives.

IoT is powered by wireless communications and cellular connectivity which allows multiple devices to communicate with each other at any one time. Sensors collect and communicate information and respond to changes in the device’s environment – all enabling in-depth data analysis and the ability to make better business decisions.

Unlike M2M, IoT is a software and hardware-based technology. Cellular devices are activated by an IoT SIM which can be removable or soldered to the hardware, or as an iSIM, integrating the SIM functionality into a System-on-Chip (SoC). The device then uses software to retrieve and share data to cloud storage.

Vast amounts of data are collected in real-time and this information, in turn, can be accessed from multiple locations. IoT allows businesses access to rich insights which improve efficiency, process, time, money and responsiveness.

Here’s a summary of comparison points for M2M vs IoT:




Machine to Machine

Internet of Things


M2M is a direct machine-to-machine communication.

IoT is a network of internet-connected devices able to sensor, collect and exchange information.


Created for businesses to connect with machines

IoT evolved from M2M and was created for both businesses and consumers

Internet connection

An internet connection is not required

An internet connection is required


Limited number of connections

Easy-to-scale network with thousands of devices communicating


Supports point-to-point communication through proprietary cellular or wired network

Supports Cloud communication using standards-based IP networks

Choosing a connectivity solution for your device

For any connected device to deliver on its promise, it must have access to a secure, reliable connection. Are you looking to produce and deploy IoT devices but not sure which connectivity solution you need?

Our article, “Cellular IoT Connectivity: What Business Leaders Need to Know” provides valuable insights for achieving success in cellular IoT. It covers topics such as selecting the optimal network, maximising coverage and uptime, and addressing connectivity design considerations for your device.

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Eseye author


IoT Hardware and Connectivity Specialists


Eseye brings decades of end-to-end expertise to integrate and optimise IoT connectivity delivering near 100% uptime. From idea to implementation and beyond, we deliver lasting value from IoT. Nobody does IoT better.

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