Are you trying to make sense of forming an IoT strategy, and looking for pointers on why it’s different from existing m2m and industrial control technologies?
Industrial businesses have been connecting sensors and devices for process control and system operation for several decades. IoT can seem an evolutionary step, so are there more significant differences?
A perspective on the difference is the ability to scale.
m2m has generally been deployed as single purpose systems bespoke to a particular application. IoT can do the same. But what happens when you want to scale massively? Can the m2m application scale to huge numbers of devices, users or to many different customer sites?
The difference is not so much on the application or purpose, but the system design. Who is the owner, operator or manager?
In IoT systems, many of the components are subscribed services, with devices designed to connect to these; e.g. communications, data servers, analytic engines. A boat tracker will use 2G cell modems to send a text message with the GPS location to each user. But a modern IoT design, could use a LPWAN tracker via an API to send data to a cloud system, with an online application that has individual user login.
Another comparison is to look at Uber – a very well known cloud business – not owning cars and not employing drivers. It may appear to the customer as a taxi business, and as a competitor is disrupting the industry. But as an IoT example it scales massively because it doesn’t own, operate or manage the cars or drivers – it’s a platform that collects and analyses data, and enables decisions.
By leasing or subscribing services, or by providing a service that the user self-deploys, costs reduce and service can scale at a lower price in relation to the size of the device count or user base.
So, yes, m2m can be an IoT system, but IoT is much more than m2m. How big can your operations scale using an IoT approach?