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    M2M starts to boom, says Vodafone, with retail leading the growth

    More than a quarter of all companies worldwide are now using M2M (machine to machine messaging), up from 12% since 2013, according to the latest Vodafone M2M Barometer Report.

    A significant majority of early adopters are already seeing clear business advantages from M2M deployment; 81% of those surveyed have expanded their use of M2M technologies over the last year. Overall awareness of M2M and the Internet of Things increased significantly during 2014-15; 78% of all companies surveyed – both adopters and non-adopters – told researchers that they are familiar with the new technologies.

    The fastest growth in rates of adoption – up 88% year on year – is in the retail sector where typical M2M applications 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%) – where M2M is used for applications such as remote patient monitoring and patient record systems – and the utilities sector (up 32%), driven by the global expansion of smart metering systems to enhance energy efficiency.

    Meanwhile, the automotive industry continues to embed M2M as a core technology within the designs of new vehicles, with the accelerating production of so-called ‘connected cars’ accounting for a 14% year-on-year increase in M2M adoption in that sector.

    Companies that have begun to adopt M2M technologies are already experiencing substantive benefits; 59% of early adopters reported a significant return on their investment in M2M, with a 28% year-on-year increase in the proportion of companies reporting a sizeable ROI impact.

    Businesses in the Americas region that are leading in the adoption of M2M in consumer devices and smart home applications demonstrate the fastest return on investment; 41% of companies in that region reported that they had achieved a return on investment within six months. Additionally, 83% of M2M adopters stated that they had gained a competitive advantage from their M2M deployments.

    The Vodafone M2M Barometer Report also found an increasing level of sophistication within many companies’ M2M applications including integration with cloud computing technologies and the advanced use of big data analytics. Companies that have invested in these services reported the greatest business impact; 69% of advanced M2M users said their companies had been fundamentally transformed by the Internet of Things.

    Vodafone Group Director of Machine-to-Machine Erik Brenneis said: “The Internet of Things is transforming more businesses faster than ever before. Machine-to-Machine technologies have as big an impact on how companies operate as the arrival of the desktop computer a generation ago, greatly enhancing productivity and competitiveness while opening up whole new fields of engineering innovation.”

    Analysys Mason Principal Analyst Michele Mackenzie adds: “There are two really striking results in the Vodafone M2M Barometer Report for 2015. First, retail and healthcare stand out as sectors demonstrating considerable growth in adoption as an increasing proportion of companies transform themselves to compete more effectively in the digital economy. Second, there are some very 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.”

    The survey – conducted by Circle Research – has been expanded for the 2015 report to include two new countries and small and medium size enterprises for the first time, leading to an 80% increase in interview respondents.

    A copy of the full report can be downloaded from here

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