Customers are demanding M2M services, says Vodafone

Caroline Baldwin

Consumer demand will drive Machine to Machine (M2M) uptake across companies, with half adopting the technology by 2015 – according to Vodafone.

The M2M adoption barometer report also states that 78% of companies see the adoption of devices which communicate with each other as crucial to business success.

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The survey of 327 IT managers stated that the manufacturing and consumer electronics sectors will lead to future growth, thanks to devices such as connected cameras. Only 28% of this sector believe that M2M is relevant to business now, while 57% think it will be relevant in three years’ time.

Vodafone claims that the automotive sector has adopted M2M most widely (19%), followed by energy and utilities (13%). Both sectors are under pressure from government and European legislation to implement M2M services in the next few years.

By 2015, European legislation is stating that all new cars must feature an eCall. This M2M technology alerts the emergency services if a car is involved in a serious road accident.

Similarly, the UK Government’s smart meter programme aims to install devices which track energy consumption into every home by 2020.

But Erik Brennis, head of global M2M said that companies want to implement the technology. 

“Growth is not dependent on legislation. Smart metering leads to cost efficiency and better customer service which drives companies to do it without legislation,” he said.

He said that Vodafone had a project with British Gas, where they found that smart meters were increasing customer attrition rates as users were receiving ongoing bills they understood. The utility company has not been waiting for the UK legislation, but been rolling out smart meters faster than planned.

Brennis said that the automotive legislation only states that cars must have a connection to the emergency services, but Vodafone is implementing SIMs into cars which allows the remote download of software and entertainment benefits as well.

Another example of M2M adoption is connections in cars in South Africa. Brennis said nearly every car has an M2M connection in order to recover stolen vehicles.

He said that components and hardware costs will continue to fall which will make it easier for small companies to invest as they will have access to more off-the-shelf products

 

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