Kenya Leads in M2M Connections in Africa


Kenya has stood out among the early adopters of machine to machine communications in the continent with half of all respondents questioned by IDC's 'Annual Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) WAN Managers Study 2013 Survey' saying they had already deployed.

The study also shows that 27% of the managers were planning on using M2M communications within the next three years with M2M outpacing other enterprise technologies such as unified communications, videoconferencing, and cloud computing according to the report.

The acceptance in M2M according to the report shows the connectivity solution has been accepted across various vertical sectors as the country increasingly embraces global trends in terms of new technologies.

The level of usage of M2M is however constrained to vending machines, security machine and fleet management with advanced M2M applications such as smart metering, pay-as-you-drive-insurance, and intelligence building are not currently widely in use.

"This is due to the numerous inherent complexities involved when attempting to implement and manage such advanced M2M technologies. Likewise, the shortage of IT personnel and the limited service capabilities of providers are hampering the deployment of such technologies within enterprise IT environments," says Mervin Miemoukanda, a senior research analyst for telecommunications, software, and IT services at IDC South Africa.

The survey also found those service providers' support capabilities for devices, applications, and networks are of paramount importance to Kenyan companies using M2M communication with international coverage offered by service providers another critical factor.

Miemoukanda adds that the increase in cross-border trade between Kenya and other East African countries provides Kenyan service providers the opportunity to demonstrate strong cross-border communication capabilities which are a critical source of competitive advantage for Kenyan service providers.

"As Kenyan companies become increasingly comfortable with M2M technologies, service providers need to serve up strong network, device, and application support for their enterprise customers. To achieve this, service providers need to partner with other M2M providers and engage more closely with their enterprise customers in order to better understand their requirements. This will help them provide superior customer service, thereby augmenting their overall customer satisfaction rates," continues Miemoukanda.

IDC says it expects the Kenyan M2M market to grow significantly over the next three years as an increasing number of companies are looking toward IT to support business transformation and spur continued growth with emerging technologies that have already had a tremendous impact in global markets beginning to see demand and adoption in Kenya.

The country according to the study however continues to face various challenges including the lack of in-house capabilities, and the inability of service providers to provide full-fledged M2M offerings will remain as the key challenges for Kenyan companies looking to use M2M communication.