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Machine to machine (M2M) is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that allows network devices to communicate without manual assistance of humans.

Much of M2M today is used for remote monitoring. For example the Coke machine can tell the vendor what is needed for the next delivery or to tell the power and water company your meter readings. M2M uses Wi-Fi, cellular, RFID, to communicate to a software program to read the data and make decisions. Many of the devices today labeled as “smart” are using the M2M communication capabilities. Industrial robots are using the M2M communication to send errors for correction during production. Future endeavors of M2M is in the vehicle industry. What if your car knew about the car next to you and in front of you on the interstate? It would know when they get to close or brake hard and could react without you touching the brake. In fact the United States Department of Transportation announced this it is proposing a rule to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in new cars.

One problem with M2M as of now is there is no standard. Many vendors are creating proprietary communications between devices. Vendors will need to agree upon standards for device-to-device communications.

With devices communicating on their own, they can tell you when to change the oil in your car, order food and help keep you safe on the road. What will machine-to-machine do for you in the future?

Scott Young – Network/Server Analyst

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