M2M deployment to speed up enterprise mobility, survey finds

Developing countries are the most interested in M2M technology

The deployment of machine-to-machine communications technology is expected to speed up enterprise mobility, according to a survey of IT decision makers by Harris Interactive on behalf of SAP.

The survey of 751 IT decision makers in six countries found that M2M is seen as a natural evolution of the consumerization of IT.

Enterprise uses of M2M technology include fleet management, factory automation, remote facility monitoring and maintenance, inventory tracking and billing services, as well as physical security.

"There is a lot of strong interest in M2M from developing countries," said Benjamin Wesson, vice president of product management at SAP. "We are seeing broader interest from South America, China, India, and other countries like that. That was a surprise. We will see if that actually translates into sales and implementation of the technology," Wesson told FierceMobileIT.

Around 70 percent of respondents said that enterprises that fail to implement M2M technologies will be at a competitive disadvantage. They stressed that M2M provides firms with better insight into their business and enables business to respond in real-time. It also increases efficiency, productivity, collaboration, and mobility of the workforce.

At the same time, respondents noted that many enterprises lack the expertise to manage and secure M2M communications, as well as the ability to collect and analyze the data generated by M2M technology.

"Another potential obstacle to M2M adoption is that the machines that are already in place were not designed with external connectivity in mind ... These machines are communicating over proprietary protocols, not web standards, so there is an interoperability barrier there," Wesson noted.

In a recent blog, Juniper Research analyst Anthony Cox warned that M2M modules could be vulnerable to security breaches. He cited reports of a hacker shutting down the security cameras monitoring Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebration last year as a real-life example of the risk.

"M2M modules are going into power stations, meters, vehicles--just about every kind of object imaginable, and it only takes one security breach to result in, well, who knows what?," opined Cox.

Another challenge to M2M identified by Frost & Sullivan involves roaming. M2M roaming challenges include identity management and security, configuration management, and service layer and connection management for M2M roamers.

For more:
- see the Harris/SAP survey
- read Cox's blog
- check out the Frost & Sullivan research

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