M2M Solutions

Introduction

Machine to Machine or M2M is a general term used to refer to wired & wireless communications between devices designed to communicate with each other and/or remote applications.

M2M has many use cases. Industrial instrumentation, comprising of a device such as a sensor or meter used to capture an event such as temperature or inventory level, and communication that event via a network to an application is a typical example of the use of M2M.

Simply put, M2M is where machines use network infrastructure to communicate with remote applications for the purpose of monitoring & control.

Internet of Things

The Internet of things or IoT is a term often heard in device connectivity circles. Somewhat of a buzzword, it is now becoming a reality. So what is IoT and how does it compare to M2M?

It seems certain that the two terms mean different things. Most conclude that IoT is a broader concept, which will continue to evolve from M2M & other technologies.

The potential to interconnect smart objects & the way we interact with that environment is a common vision of what IoT strives to achieve.

One way of thinking about the relationship between M2M & IoT is M2M is the underlying plumbing of IoT. An IoT enabling technology. M2M with Internet protocols is a subset of IoT.

M2M is understood from a more vertical and close point of view. IoT encompasses a more horizontal and meaningful approach where vertical applications are pulled together to address the needs of many people & organizations.

IoT or M2M Solution?

Am I looking for an IoT or M2M solution? I have read about CoAP, RPL, 6LoPAN and many other IoT technologies. What does it all mean?

In most cases, our customers are looking for M2M solutions. They are looking for narrow, vertical applications. Data is not shared across applications, let alone outside the organization.

Not withstanding the initial need of M2M, Microsmart continues to be vigilant in the architecture and design, allowing an M2M application to evolve toward an IoT vision.

Components of a Solution

Most M2M solutions are built as a common set of functionality that can be broadly categories into a set of well known areas:

  • Device Hardware
    • Microcontroller
    • Sensors
    • Actuators
    • GSM or RF modem
    • Power Subsystems
  • Device Firmware
    • Sensors
    • Actuation
    • Communication
    • Over the air update
  • Back-end Server
    • IP (TCP or UDP) Server
    • Workers (marking, cleaning, rules, real time and/or batch)
    • Message Bus
    • Database
  • Analytics
    • Estimating Missing Data
    • Building a Model of the Data
    • Application of Model
    • Aggregation of Data
  • Front End (User Interface)
    • Application Program Interface (API)
    • Authentication & Authorization (Security)
    • Web Application User Interface (what the end user sees)

Experience

The founders of Microsmart have been involved in M2M communications & data sciences for over a decade. Microsmart has been formed to focus that know how and deliver intelligent, connected devices backed by a solid, scalable back-end to get your data from the field and safely into the database.

We have the experience to understand and manage the data, perform estimations, via statistical methodologies, on missing values and find patterns within the values.

Please feel free to contact Guy van den Berg or Dr Schalk Heunis to discuss a solution tailored to your requirements.