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What does M2M mean?

2007.11.08.

M2M refers to data communications between machines. M2M is most commonly translated as Machine-to-Machine but has sometimes been translated as Man-to-Machine, Machine-to-Man, Machine-to-Mobile and Mobile-to-Machine. Among cellular telephone service providers, M2M means Mobile-to-Mobile, and is used to describe calls that do not involve land lines.

Like all evolving technologies, its definition continues to evolve, but it generally refers to telemetry or telematics that is accomplished using networks, especially public wireless networks.In the past, telemetry systems were the exclusive domain of very large well financed organizations. NASA used telemetry extensively from the very beginning of the space program and which was probably one of the first applications. Large oil and gas companies and electric utilities, through the use of extensive customer built dedicated data networks, were a couple of the first private organizations to use telemetry.

M2M can also mean the family of sensors, middleware, software and applications that help improve efficiency and quality by tying together a myriad of sensors with mission critical applications like asset management, ERP, and CRM.In recent years, the cost of access to public wireless data networks (CDMA, GPRS, Mobitex, etc.) has been dropping while the capabilities of these networks continues to increase. M2M generally refers to technology that leverages these networks to bring telemetry to a much wider audience. In addition, M2M sometimes refers to similar leveraging of the internet. In this case, the term is more or less equivalent to another term, Pervasive Internet.As the scope of M2M has evolved, other terms like Machine to Human (M2H) and Machine to Enterprise (M2E) are starting to emerge to segment the pervasive nature of the M2M term.

The M2M device, software, network, and service market is expected to grow rapidly world wide between now and 2010. Some estimates suggest the 2010 world market may exceed $300B in annual revenue. Where as there are some 500 M computers in the world and 1.5 B cell phones & PDAs, it is estimated there are more than 38B other electronic devices that have information perhaps relevant to improving an enterprises operation. The M2M market strives to connect these devices to corporations, governments and institutions.

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