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The UK is lagging behind countries like India and Brazil when it comes to the adoption of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, according to new research.

In a global survey of over 750 IT decision makers, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of SAP, 43% of UK respondents said that most of what they have heard about M2M is “more hype than anything else”.

IT decision makers in the US where also skeptical about the technology, with 45% claiming it was mainly hype. However, India and Brazil demonstrated substantial excitement about M2M, with nine in 10 viewing it as the natural evolution of the consumerisation of IT.

M2M is the technology behind the Internet of Things. It allows electronic devices to communicate with one another via SIM cards that can connect to wireless sensors and the mobile internet for management and monitoring, and to provide services.

“Today, M2M technology is primarily being used to collect vast amounts of machine data,” said Sanjay Poonen, president of technology solutions and mobile division at SAP.

“The ‘Internet of Things’ goes one step further by integrating data from machines, ERP, CRM systems, social media and more, in real time, allowing humans to intelligently interact with devices, devices with devices and devices back to humans – the ultimate social media collaboration of man and machine.”

It is predicted that by 2020 the number of ‘things’ connected to the internet will reach 50 billion, leading the way for the development of smart cities. All six regions surveyed said that smart cities would be the “coolest possible outcome” of M2M.

However IT decision makers in all of the regions surveyed cited challenges to adopting the technology – in particular the availability of 4G, organisational disruption, and senior level support.

“The benefits of M2M are undeniable but there are barriers toward the adoption of M2M solutions, such as the lack of complete multi-industry offerings, management, security and Big Data issues, and deficiency of suitable global connectivity solutions that are needed by multinational enterprises,” said Poonen.