Vodafone has published its second annual 'M2M Adoption Barometer' -- a global survey of the machine-to-machine (M2M) market -- and pegs Asia Pacific to lead global adoption rates over the next two years.

Global M2M adoption increased by over 80% in the past year to reach 22%, said the survey. The adoption rate in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa is higher than the global average, reaching 27%. The survey, carried out by Circle Research, comprised over 600 executives worldwide.

"This year's report findings [shows] momentum accelerates as companies in Asia-Pacific begin to realize the commercial potential of the IoT," said Niklas Ekarv, head of M2M, Asia Pacific, at a press event in Hong Kong.

Smart cars and meters drive the growth

Globally, three sectors have emerged as front runners in M2M: automotive, consumer electronics, and energy and utilities, said Vodafone in a statement. Automotive is the most mature sector as M2M is now seen as an enabler for additional services such as remote maintenance and infotainment.

In Asia, Ekarv said the use of smart meters is more prominent, driving the growth of M2M adoption in energy and utilities. 'Smart' home and office services like intelligent heating and connected security are also gaining popularity globally.

Ekarv added smaller organizations in Asia are also driving the M2M adoption. One of them is Hong Kong-based eSpot. The cargo and fleet management system provider offers electronic tracking systems via GPS location tracking and the GSM network.

Charging logistics providers based on an annual fee, eSpot's CEO Ricky Cheung noted most customers are tracking their trucks traveling between Hong Kong and Yantian in China. He expected more monitoring is happening at the North, traveling from Beijing to Europe via Russia.

"This technology is transforming whole industries across Asia as companies find new ways to operate and engage with their customers," said Ekarv, adding that technology research firm Machina predicts greater China to dominate Asian M2M revenues, followed by Japan, India, Korea and Australia.

Security is not a show stopper

On the security front, Ekarv said that his firm's M2M devices transmitted over private networks rather than the public Internet for enhanced security. "Is that enough? No, but it helps," he said.

The Vodafone M2M head also stressed that data streamed from a vehicle, for example, was tied to a serial number rather than a firm or individual's identity, further hardening overall security.

He said the massive UK-based telco now employs over 350 people in its M2M department to help boost its profile in the burgeoning sector.