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M2M is at the Heart of This Revolution

Though much has been written about the technological advancements disrupting the retail industry, it is the actual implementation of technology that matters the most. Besides, what good is new technology if it does not have a real-world application?

Whether technology excites or scares you, one thing is evidently clear: Change is already here. Almost everything is automated and operates within the cloud. With everyone and everything connected online, the Internet of Things (IoT) brings to light a concept nobody could have imagined just a few decades ago: Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications. With the proliferation of IoT, M2M takes on a bigger role in the operations of businesses today, and the cutthroat retail industry could benefit well from this revolution.

So... what is M2M and IoT?

"M2M is the connection and communication of two or more devices that utilize shared information," according to AT&T Enterprise. "Typically, devices such as sensors and monitors collect and transmit data to a central application. M2M helps businesses gain near real-time insights regarding their assets, allowing for smart and fast adjustments to their operations. This technology developed before IoT, which often uses internet connections for more advanced applications."

Forbes defines IoT as the concept of connecting any device with an on-and-off switch to the internet and/or to each other. This includes devices such as cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, and more.


Insight forecasts

The M2M market is expected to witness aggressive growth due to increasing adoptions for IoT.

According to a new market research report, "Machine to Machine (M2M) Market" Global Forecast & Analysis (2012-2017) by Hardware Components, Technologies & Applications, the total M2M market is expected to reach $85.96 billion by 2017 at a CAGR of 26.1% from 2012 to 2017.

Benefits of M2M on retail

M2M has the power to reinvent the retail business. As retailers continue to innovate and provide a totally new and convenient shopping experience for customers, M2M technology helps the industry with real-time inventory tracking, fixed asset monitoring during production, fleet tracking during delivery, and real-time surveillance for security, among others. From production and marketing to customer insights and the supply chain, M2M revolutionizes the shopping experience.

Here are three key examples of how M2M technology is having a profound impact on the retail sector:

  1. The Shopping Experience. Through electronic point-of-sale (EPOS)/process data quickly (PDQ) terminals and tablets, shoppers no longer need to wait in line to pay. Customer service staff have access to customer data that is readily available, enhancing their ability to answer queries. Also, customers can complete the purchase there and then via the terminal. Businesses get the opportunity to boost sales by providing convenient payment avenues, while customers can avoid the queue—a nuisance for those used to the convenience of online shopping.

  2. Tracking and Predicting Consumer Behavior. In the past, people mostly shopped physically and knew their retailers, and they knew them. The retailer recognizes what people liked and how they liked it and could use that information to recommend new products or new combinations of brands. That was business analytics based on data, though all just in the retailer’s head. Now, with M2M technology, new kinds of data can be collected in real-time, stored in a computer, and accessed with ease. Thus, sharing all kinds of data sets, retailers have the chance to get to know their customers intimately, locally or internationally, all at the same time.

  3. Logistics: The Supply Chain and Delivering the Goods. M2M solutions can be used to monitor the condition and location of goods during shipping, from manufacturers to distributors and onto retail outlets. Wireless, battery-powered M2M tracking devices can monitor conditions in transit, ensuring product safety regulations (especially those for perishable goods) are complied with, maintaining great product quality, and reducing wastage. These devices can also monitor where shipments and assets are—from entire containers to individual products and pieces of equipment—to minimize the costs associated with delays and shrinkage.

Assessing opportunities

Opportunities to increase revenue, reduce costs, and better serve customers using M2M are achievable, provided that the business undertakes strategy development, planning, and deployment thoughtfully with an eye towards growth.

Clearly, shopping is not going out of fashion. In fact, we are shopping more than ever before, with the multitude of channels available these days. However, consumers have changed, and the technology within the retail industry has changed, too. So always be on your toes and be on the look-out for technology—whether it has been there for years or just in its early stages—that can have a real impact on your specific industries.

Interested to learn more about our products and solutions? Arrange a consultation with a Globe Business Advisor today.


Jan Holler. (2014). Retrieved from

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Connections Market by Technology (Wired, Wireless), Industry (Healthcare, Utilities, Retail, Consumer Electronics, Automotive & Transportation, Security & Surveillance, Others), and by Geography - Forecast to 2020). (2017, October). Retrieved from

What is the difference between the "Internet of Things" (IoT) and "Machine to Machine" (M2M)? (2015, 11 January). Retrieved from