A machine-to-machine (M2M) economy is one in which machines are autonomous market participants that have their own bank accounts. In the near future, it's expected that M2M participants will be able to lease themselves out, hire their own service engineers and pay for their own servicing and replacement parts.
In an M2M economy, businesses may be able to leave asset management and maintenance to the assets themselves. That's because the growing pervasiveness of the Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making it possible for sensors, actuators and networked smart machines to operate autonomously, communicate directly with each other and use data gathered over time to maintain themselves without human intervention.
Currently, the relatively high cost of transferring micro-payments has been a roadblock in the growth of an M2M economy. Currently, the IOTA Foundation, a non-profit, open-source driven organization headquartered in Germany, is promoting Tangle, IOTA's distributed ledger technology, as a way for people and machines to transfer data and/or money without transaction fees. If concerns about zero-fee transactions can be addressed, use cases for M2M economy experimentation is expected in various sectors of the economy include manufacturing, logistics, resources, agriculture, energy and infrastructure.