Machine-to-machine (M2M) adoption has increased by more than 80%, with over a fifth of companies now actively using the technology. And Asia Pacific is ahead of the US as the geography with the widest adoption of M2M. By 2016 the gap will be negligible with all regions close to a 55% average for adoption.

This was revealed by Vodafone in its second annual 'M2M Adoption Barometer', a global survey of the machine-to-machine (M2M) market, which finds that.

M2M, which connects previously isolated machines or devices to the internet to make the 'Internet of Things' possible, is set to grow from 4.4 billion connected devices this year to 10.3 billion by 2018, the telecom company said in a media statement.

The survey was carried out by Circle Research. Around 600 executives were polled for this survey. These are executives who were involved in setting M2M strategy in seven key industries across 14 countries.

Three front-running sectors

Three sectors have emerged as front runners in M2M with nearly 30 % adoption rates: automotive, consumer electronics, and energy and utilities.

Automotive is the most mature of the sectors where M2M is now seen as an enabler for additional services such as remote maintenance and infotainment. M2M adoption in energy and utilities is also growing rapidly as 'smart' home and office services such as intelligent heating and connected security gain popularity.

Vodafone's report shows that the consumer electronics sector is at the forefront of a shift from the warehouse to the living room. Nearly three quarters of consumer electronics companies will have adopted some form of M2M by 2016, whether for new products, logistics or production.

Similarly, the report anticipates that 57% of healthcare and life sciences companies will have adopted M2M technologies by 2016. Take-up in the transport and logistics sector will be driven by fleet management benefits, as M2M-led routing, job allocation and maintenance schedules become even more evident.

Barriers to adoption, include, managing security concerns and the challenges of global deployment.

"This year's report leaves no doubt that momentum is accelerating as companies begin to realise the commercial potential of the Internet of Things," said Director of Machine-to-Machine, Vodafone, Erik Brenneis. "This technology is transforming whole industries as companies find new ways to operate and engage with their customers. M2M is moving from the back-office to centre stage."

"We now see M2M is becoming fundamental to how organisations do business; in some cases, M2M adoption is also creating new business opportunities," said Principal Analyst at Machina Research, Matt Hatton. "These technologies are radically changing the way in which companies serve - and communicate with - their customers."