The latest issue of the Vodafone M2M Barometer Report revealed that more than one quarter of all companies worldwide are now using machine-to-machine communications (M2M), up from 12 per cent when the report was first launched in 2013.
According to the report, which is based on a survey conducted by Circle Research and includes contributions from Analysys Mason, a significant majority of early adopters say they are already seeing clear business advantages from M2M deployment, with 81 per cent of those surveyed expanding their use of M2M technologies over the last year.
Indeed, the survey also revealed that overall awareness of M2M and the Internet of Things (IoT) increased significantly during 2014-15. Some 78 per cent of all companies surveyed--both adopters and non-adopters--told researchers that they are familiar with the new technologies.
In terms of geographic take-up, Europe showed the strongest overall growth, from 21 per cent to 31 per cent adoption year-on-year. The reported noted that the strong German market is partly responsible for this, with its government push of Industry 4.0 and its advanced automotive sector. Across Europe generally there was a strong performance from energy and utilities, and the retail industry.
Indeed, the fastest rate of adoption is in the retail sector, with an 88 per cent rise year-on-year. Typical M2M applications here include in-store digital signage, smart payment systems and supply chain optimisation.
The M2M Barometer also found strong growth in the healthcare sector (up 47 per cent), where M2M is used for applications such as remote patient monitoring and patient record systems. The utilities sector also saw adoption increase by 32 per cent, driven by the global expansion of smart metering systems.
Meanwhile, the report noted that the automotive industry continues to embed M2M as a core technology within the designs of new vehicles, with the accelerating production of connected cars accounting for a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in M2M adoption in that sector.
Michele Mackenzie, a principal analyst at Analysys Mason, said it is striking that retail and healthcare stand out as sectors that are now demonstrating considerable growth in M2M adoption. She added that the report also provides interesting insights into the diverse measures used by companies to assess the value of M2M.
"There are compelling examples of cost savings; positive impacts on customer retention and the ability to unlock new revenue streams are also cited as tangible benefits that continue to drive investment in M2M," Mackenzie said.
Around 59 per cent of early adopters reported a significant return on their investment in M2M, with a 28 per cent year-on-year increase in the proportion of companies reporting a sizeable ROI impact, according to the report.
- see the Vodafone M2M Barometer Report
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