Asia Pacific leads the world in adoption of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, with more than a quarter of APAC-based companies saying they use M2M in their businesses, compared with 21 per cent adoption rates in Europe and 17 per cent in the Americas.
A report from Vodafone, its second annual ‘M2M Adoption Barometer’, found that M2M connections in APAC increased by 15 percentage points from a year ago, and more than half of the executives in the region expect to implement M2M applications over the next two years.
The report suggests that the regional gap will close over the next two years as an average of 55 per cent of firms across all regions will use M2M.
Niklas Ekarv (pictured), Vodafone’s M2M regional business director for APAC, told journalists in Hong Kong yesterday that M2M is no longer a niche play as 22 per cent of companies globally use it in their businesses. He said three key segments are leading the push: consumer electronics, automotive and energy & utilities.
While Ekarv acknowledged security is always a consideration, he noted that the survey found it has not been an obstacle for most firms. Although he did say managing security concerns can slow down adoption, just as a global deployment can.
He emphasised that M2M definitely can pay, with 66 per cent of companies seeing a return on investment within one year and 89 per cent within two years. These figures, however, could be somewhat inflated because companies are likely starting on projects with the strongest ROI case, most of which are internal.
The report noted that it will likely take more time for firms to see a result as they move to external projects, such as customer-facing initiatives.
Ekarv said for the past two years the majority of companies have had a purely internal M2M strategy, but that is shifting to an external focus as firms realise they can move away from being product margin reliant to being service revenue focused.
Looking at adoption based on company size, the findings showed that small businesses are catching up. Ekarv said that traditionally larger businesses have been better in creating the knowhow to implement M2M.
“Now we see a shift, and SEMs are now quicker. One reason is that to have an impact sometimes you have to change the way your work, and small companies have a relatively easier time than large corporates,” he said.
The survey, conducted by Circle Research, contacted more than 600 executives across seven industries in 14 countries.