More than a quarter of all businesses worldwide are now using machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, and in the Americas, more than nine out of 10 (93 percent) companies using M2M have experienced ROI.
According to the Vodafone report, 41 percent of businesses in the Americas have achieved ROI within six months from their use of M2M.
The M2M barometer also found strong growth in the health care sector (up nearly 47 percent), where M2M is used for applications such as remote patient monitoring and patient record systems, as well as the utilities sector (up 32 percent).
"M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform health care, changing how we perform diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately making care more accessible," Andrew Morawski, head of M2M for the Americas at Vodafone, told eWEEK. "The medical sector is primed for innovation, as health care systems deal with the burden of an aging population, growing demand for chronic disease care and empowered mobile patients."
He explained that M2M helps tackle these challenges, transforming everything from frontline patient care to senior living to medical research, so he expects growth to continue.
"We’re seeing strong growth in the health care sector, where remote patient monitoring and patient record systems are becoming mainstays," Morawski said. "The health care industry is one that is often hesitant to adopt new technologies due to regulations. The fact that we are seeing the industry adopt this technology points to future growth across the board. And, from our perspective, M2M’s growth in the health care industry is important, since it is really allows us to make the most impact on people’s lives."
Retail has seen the fastest growth, up 88 percent year on year, where typical M2M applications include in-store digital signage, smart payment systems and supply chain optimization.
Meanwhile, 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 percent year-on-year increase in M2M adoption in the sector.
Companies are also increasingly becoming more sophisticated with their use of M2M by linking it with cloud platforms as well as pairing it with data analytics to drive the greatest impact on their businesses, with 69 percent of sophisticated users claiming that M2M has fundamentally transformed their business.
The research also revealed that use of M2M has been leveraged for multiple uses across companies, and indicated that once M2M projects are started, companies quickly add new connections to initial schemes, with four out of 10 companies that have adopted M2M expanding projects into more countries.
"While many of the previous concerns have dropped away, such as technical performance or cost to implement, there are still two obstacles that are the most common—security and privacy," Morawski said. "There are different levels of concern in different industries; understandably, retail and health care ranked highest for security and privacy concerns. However, the risk of security does not normally outweigh the benefits of deploying M2M, as this year’s report demonstrates."