Industry 4.0, what’s the difference between M2M and IoT

Machine to machine and Internet of Things are two key technologies for Industry 4.0. But to implement them, you need to know the differences

In the world of entrepreneurship, particularly within that which winks at the new Industry 4.0, there is some confusion between M2M and IoT. We are talking about two new technologies of the latest generation, Machine to Machine and Internet of Things, which must be understood and better exploited by SMEs.

The two technologies, although similar, have substantial differences in application. An incorrect knowledge of them can be a double-edged sword for a company that decides to invest in this field. Let's try to understand how Machine to Machine and Internet of Things are different and in which contexts they can be used together. The separation between M2M and IoT does not mean that these two technologies cannot coexist within the same company. On the contrary, Industry 4.0 will especially benefit companies that understand how to integrate new technologies as much as possible to their already started production processes.


The term Machine to Machine identifies that remote communication between machines, devices and sensors of a closed system. The main objective of this technology is to manage and monitor the machines to provide a less expensive and more structured maintenance service and above all that of efficient production by reducing expenses and time.


Internet of Things is a broader and more varied technology. It includes objects, some even very large as machines, of common use and industrial use. Thanks to IoT we have Internet-connected thermostats, smart light bulbs and self-driving cars. In the Internet of Things, humans are fundamental as they manage every process through applications designed for smartphones and tablets and also allow communication between the various smart objects.

The main differences

As we have seen one of the main differences is that M2M allows connecting exclusively the machines of an SME, while IoT creates connections with between the objects of customers and suppliers. They are basically two totally different intelligent communication systems. It should not be forgotten that IoT not only connects industrial machinery but can also connect a refrigerator or any home appliance. If M2M has as its purpose the machines of the company, the Internet of Things has as its purpose to collect data. Information that can then be very useful to the company. In essence, the IoT at the moment offers a number of possibilities for the growth of a company, while the M2M is essential to increase efficiency and reduce production costs.