Wireless telemetry or Machine-to-Machine technology was adopted early by businesses that could see the value in data and it quickly became commonplace to deploy these systems in applications such as metering. From simple beginnings M2M has sophisticated to a point where it is almost synonymous with the Internet of Things, an association which is likely to strengthen further. IoT is becoming an increasingly prominent technology that has the potential, and is already making steps towards, radically altering our world like almost no other wireless technology that is currently undergoing commercial development.

Machine-to-machine communication can generally be categorised into one of two use-cases;

  1. Infrequent communications of small transmission size. Examples might include; household electrical meters reporting monthly usage, parking lot sensors indicating occupied status.
  2. Sustained communications of intermediate transmission size, for example, vehicles reporting live speed and traffic metrics.

Most competing IoT protocols meet one of the two needs, and most operators choose to deploy one of each network type. The most prominent IoT technology is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), a technology designed for infrequent, small transmissions, and deployed over a mobile operator's existing cellular network. Operators who implement NB-IoT usually meet the requirement for larger transmissions by also upgrading their existing cellular network to support LTE-M device categories, or may choose to implement a dedicated LTE Cat-M1 (eMTC) carrier.

Many European and Central Asian operators have elected to build a national LoRa network as opposed to deploying NB-IoT. This can be due to limited low-band spectrum availability, technical hurdles, or simply that LoRa had already attained a larger ecosystem of users and devices in their geographic region.

IoT Protocols