Rise of the machines: The future is here

Machine-to-machine communication is changing the way we interact with devices and also how they interact with each other.


There are now numerous internet-connected appliances that make use of M2M communication to help with work around the home.

M2M or machine-to-machine technology is a term that is used to describe two devices or machines that can talk to each other without the need for human interaction.

What was once considered purely science fiction is now on the technological horizon.

How does it work?

M2M communication relies on devices that contain technologies like sensors, Wi-Fi, RFID or mobile data. The machines use these technologies to transmit data to other devices on the same network.

These devices also make use of special software that allows these gadgets to read and interpret data and even make decisions on their own.

Very early M2M technology was driven by the need to monitor data in hard-to-reach areas. Connected machines are estimated to grow to somewhere between 25 million and 50 million by 2020.

The future is now

With the ever-expanding capabilities of computers and electronics, these M2M devices have started to expand beyond the needs of science and manufacturing, into appliances that are designed to aid with every day living.

There are now numerous internet-connected appliances that make use of M2M communication to help with work around the home.

For example, appliance makers are experimenting with fridges that contain sensors that keep an eye on your food.

These sensors can detect how much milk you have and if you are running low, send this information to the inbuilt computer, which adds it to a shopping list.

At the end of the month, your computer can even contact the online supermarket and order the food for you.


Smart fridges will be able to detect your food supplies and communicate with your smartphone to alert you or even order directly from supermarket. Photo: iStock (Representation purposes only)

Health Benefits

Advantages of M2M communication extend to beyond lifestyle enhancements. The healthcare sector, in particular, stands to benefit a lot from it.

Devices like blood sugar and blood pressure monitors can collect information on a patient and immediately send the results through to their doctor.

This ability to monitor the body’s vital signs will also allow doctors to diagnose and treat problems remotely.

Future households + M2M

Transport and logistics industry is already reaping the benefits of M2M technology.

The ability to monitor the transport of packages and drivers in real time has obvious advantages for businesses that want to keep track of vehicle maintenance and driver safety.

It is also easy to see how this might translate into uses in the home. We are not far from being able to keep track of the family vehicle, and have your car send maintenance and service updates to your smartphone.

Automatic meter readers have also come into prominence in the last couple of years. These readers are hooked to your water, gas or electricity supply and connect with a hub to track your household usage.

Again, there are many potential uses for similar devices in the home. In the not-too-distant future, sensors placed throughout the house will be able to detect changes in temperature and automatically shut off your heating or air-conditioning, start a smoke alarm or even set off a sprinkler. 


Source: Internet Uninterrupted: Australian Households of the Connected Future, a Telsyte research paper commissioned by nbn (2015)

From sensors that determine if your washing is dry and automatically shut off your clothes dryer, to machines in the garden that can determine the exact amount of water needed to ensure your plants are thriving, there are seemly endless applications for M2M.

These devices will not only be able to help people save money on bills, they should also help ensure there is better management of the planet’s resources.

A fast network for M2M

As the technology of devices and machines that communicate with each other advances, there is a need for a network that is capable of transmitting the data from this massive influx of new connected devices.

Once the nbn™ network is rolled out across the country, the ability for more devices to speak to each other in the home will increase.

Check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.

Internet Uninterrupted Australian Households of the Connected Future.pdf