Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is a key enabling technology for industrial internet of things (IIoT)-empowered industrial networks, where machines communicate with one another for collaborative automation and intelligent optimisation. This new industrial computing paradigm features high-quality connectivity, ubiquitous messaging, and interoperable interactions between machines. However, manufacturing IIoT applications have specificities that distinguish them from many other internet of things (IoT) scenarios in machine communications. By highlighting the key requirements and the major technical gaps of M2M in industrial applications, this article describes a collaboration-oriented M2M (CoM2M) messaging mechanism focusing on flexible connectivity and discovery, ubiquitous messaging, and semantic interoperability that are well suited for the production line-scale interoperability of manufacturing applications. The designs toward machine collaboration and data interoperability at both the communication and semantic level are presented. Then, the application scenarios of the presented methods are illustrated with a proof-of-concept implementation in the PicknPack food packaging line. Eventually, the advantages and some potential issues are discussed based on the PicknPack practice.
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