When Machines Talk: The Evolution of M2M Communication

Machine-to-Machine (M2M)

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication is a cornerstone of modern industrial automation and digital transformation. The history of M2M can be traced back to the early stages of industrial automation.

Pre-M2M Days

In the 1960s, the concept was nascent. Early attempts relied on automations using analog and relay-based control systems.

Programmable Logic Controllers

The introduction of the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) in the late 1960s revolutionized manufacturing by providing digital control of production processes. Though not M2M by modern standards, PLCs laid the foundation for automated machine control.

Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

The idea of Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), where computers control entire manufacturing processes, emerged in the 1970s and took off in the 1980s. As technology grew in sophistication, the manufacturing strategy became prominent by the late ‘80s.

Industrial Protocols

The introduction of key industrial protocols like Modbus in 1979 and Profibus in 1989 facilitated the communication between machines and control systems.

Industrial Ethernet and Wireless M2M

The adaptation of Ethernet for industrial applications in the late 1990s and early 2000s ushered in growth of M2M strategies. The advent of wireless Internet removed physical constraints.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

In the 2010s, the term Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gained prominence. M2M communication became a cornerstone of IIoT, unlocking unprecedented levels of automation and data-driven decision making.

Smart Factories

In the Industry 4.0 era, M2M communication under IIoT became crucial to building smart factories where machines, sensors, and systems communicate in real-time to optimize production processes.

Present and Future

Advanced technologies integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning enable predictive maintenance, adaptive manufacturing processes, and enhanced operational efficiency. The rise of 5G and edge computing unlocks more responsive and efficient M2M communications.