How Is The Internet Of Things Different Than Machine-To-Machine?

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An entire hall at the gargantuan Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year was dedicated to the Internet of Things and all of its possible use cases, from homes to airplanes. But why is this technology potentially so important? How is it different from the machine-to-machine technology industrial verticals have used for years?

PTC General Manager Howard Heppelmann said it all comes down to the devices. "The devices are changing; they're changing profoundly."

Heppelmann predicts that in just five years the architecture of devices will look entirely different, and that will have major impacts on business processes, applications and end users. He said the major difference between M2M and IoT is the vastness of use cases connected devices will have, and all of the data those devices will collect and analyze.

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"Smart devices have been around for a while, especially in the industrial setting, but now the devices are much broader in scope and in terms of people who actually own them," agreed Natick, Mass.-based software company MathWorks' Development Manager Rob Purser.

Dassault Systemes Director Michael Munsey said analytics are crucial to the success of IoT, because it's what users do with data that makes IoT a valuable technology.

"The IoT to me, and to our company, is the ability to create better products, better experiences for everyone out there by quickly analyzing what you're doing, where you're at, how you're interacting with devices and, basically, either making a personal life better, or a business better," Munsey said.