Vodafone "barometer": M2M to storm Asia-Pacific

Stefan Hammond

Vodafone has published its second annual ‘M2M Adoption Barometer’ – a global survey of the M2M market – and pegs Asia Pacific to lead global adoption rates over the next two years. The survey, carried out by Circle Research, comprised over 600 executives worldwide.

Global demand has surged as M2M adoption increased by over 80% in the past year, said the survey. “This year’s report findings [shows] momentum accelerates as companies in Asia-Pacific begin to realize the commercial potential of the IoT,” said Niklas Ekarv, head of M2M, Asia Pacific, at a press event in Hong Kong.

Globally, three sectors have emerged as front runners in M2M: automotive, consumer electronics, and energy and utilities, said Vodafone in a statement. Automotive is the most mature sector as M2M is now seen as an enabler for additional services such as remote maintenance and infotainment.

M2M adoption in energy and utilities is also growing rapidly as ‘smart’ home and office services like intelligent heating and connected security gain popularity. While more firms report ROI from M2M than last year – 46% of respondents cited a ‘significant increase’ compared to 36% in 2013 – barriers to adoption remain, including security concerns and the challenges of global deployment.

“This technology is transforming whole industries across Asia as companies find new ways to operate and engage with their customers,” said Ekarv, adding that technology research firm Machina predicts greater China to dominate Asian M2M revenues, followed by Japan, India, Korea and Australia.

On the security front, Ekarv said that his firm's M2M devices transmitted over private networks rather than the public internet for enhanced security. “Is that enough? No, but it helps,” he said.

The Vodafone M2M head also stressed that data streamed from a vehicle, for example, was tied to a serial number rather than a firm or individual's identity, further hardening overall security.

He said the massive UK-based telco now employs over 350 people in its M2M department to help boost its profile in the burgeoning sector.

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