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July 4, 2014

Revealed: Vodafone’s 2014 predictions for the Internet of Things market

Which technologies and industries are driving the most growth?

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Vodafone made the following predictions in its second annual M2M Adoption Barometer, which asked 600 executives across all industries about their views on M2M, the adoption of which has increased by more than 80 percent in the past year.

1. 4G will improve ROI

Vodafone predicts that the percentage of companies relying on fixed-line connections will fall by 15% to 48% in the next three years, driven by falling costs of mobile broadband and the emergence of 4G. The report found that 84% of M2M adopters said that 4G was "very important" or "quite important" to their project.

"We predict that 4G will make new kinds of application practical and cost-effective, including video-based security, in-vehicle information services, assisted living and mHealth solutions, and much more," the report said.

2. Data will become more important

Today, 75% of M2M adopters say they are using analytics, while 88% expect to do so in three years’ time. Vodafone urged enterprises to invest in specialist skills, or bring in outside help to develop the necessary strategies and systems.

"And governance will be an important issue: the more data you store and make accessible around your organisation, the greater the privacy and security risks you have to plan for," it added.

3. Manufacturers and automotive companies will outperform expectations in two years

The report suggested that consumer electronics, which include thermostats and smart televisions, will take a commanding lead, while manufacturing was one of the slowest sectors to adopt M2M.

"We think that as understanding of M2M grows, we’ll see more manufacturers embrace M2M and adoption figures will surpass what our respondents predicted. And we believe that next year we’ll also see greater growth in automotive companies," it said.

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"Once drivers become familiar with M2M services they will start to demand them in their next vehicle. It doesn’t take long for what was a luxury, only available in top-end vehicles to become widespread — like aircon."

4. Security and privacy standards will emerge in two to five years.

It’s inevitable that security breaches will become more of a target as the number of deployments and their integration with back-end systems grows, according to Vodafone.

"For their part, we expect adopters will increasingly compartmentalise critical systems, with private networks being used for very sensitive applications — going forward M2M will support a range of hybrid technology and network models," Vodafone said.

Vodafone added that its own network is secure as no one has ever cracked its encryption despite tens of thousands of attempts each month.

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