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M2M and the theory of general negativity

SAP has asked questions around M2M of 750 globally dispersed IT decision-makers (ITDMs). The poll was conducted by Harris Interactive and set out to test the state of M2M on a global basis. What are IT people thinking around M2M? Are there differences between countries?

On the basics there appeared to be pretty-much unanimity. For instance, all the respondents in all six countries polled (China, India, Brazil, Germany, US and UK) expressed a strong belief in M2M representing a natural step in the evolution of technology, said the survey results. They widely agree with the need for, and benefits of, the broader adoption of M2M. In fact, an average of 70 per cent of the ITDMs in all six countries surveyed agree that companies that fail to implement M2M technologies will fall behind their competitors. So far so good, but there's a but... in fact a couple.

Questions on more specific M2M aspects seemed to throw up a trend: "Looking beyond the benefits of an individual consumer or company, [respondents] from all six countries surveyed said that smart cities would be the coolest possible outcome of M2M: China (35 per cent), Brazil (35 per cent), Germany (30 per cent), India (27 per cent), US (25 per cent) and UK (21 per cent)."

In this, and on a few other detailed points, the Anglo-Saxons in general, and UK respondents in particular, seem to be the least prone to wild enthusiasm: 45 per cent of US ITDMs thought the technology "was mainly hype". An even more awkward squad of 20 per cent of UK respondents actually went further and "thought it was more hype than anything else".

Up at the front of the class, however, the Chinese, Brazilians, Indians and Germans, are all cheer-leaders in comparison.

From this difference, the conclusion was then drawn that the UK and US were in danger of falling behind through a likely lack of commitment by their IT people and through them, by their companies and organisations.

I have a problem with this interpretation. For starters, it's not obvious to me that a significant proportion of skeptics in a market make that market any less likely to make a success of M2M or IoT. It is, after all, possible to be an M2M enthusiast while simultaneously worrying that the story is being over-sold by others.

I'd go further. In the UK the existence of noisy, opinionated skeptics is a sure sign that skeptical dark matter - in the form of an equally noisy bunch of over-hyping M2M and IoT believers - is also present. Anglo-Saxon skeptics always believe the gung-ho types need to be jolted back to reality with a harsh word or two - it's just the way we do things, in IT as in everything else.

So to equate skepticism by some with general negativity is, I suspect, a sign of cultural wires being crossed.

And (another thing) - at least argumentative and contrarian opinion in both the US and UK is most often a sign that a frank discussion is actually being had.

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