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GSMA study highlights major M2M market opportunity
Posted on 23-Sep-2014 11:23 | Tags Filed under: News

Cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will account for at least 10 per cent of the global mobile market by 2020, according to a new study by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA. It is forecast that cellular M2M will account for almost one billion (974 million) of the 10 billion total mobile connections expected by 2020 if the market develops at its current trajectory. However, the study highlights several factors that could stimulate further growth in the sector, potentially leading to as many as two billion cellular M2M connections by 2020 – double the current forecast. Cellular M2M accounts for about three per cent of global mobile connections today.

The United States is one of the largest and most advanced machine-to-machine (M2M) markets in the world, with M2M representing one in 10 of all mobile connections in the region, compared with one in 20 in Europe and one in 100 in Africa, according to the new GSMA report “Driving Innovation in Connected Living - The US Flags the Future of M2M.” The US accounted for 35 million connections or 19 per cent of all global M2M connections at the end of 2013, a figure that is expected to reach 41 million this year, driven in particular by advances in the automotive, utilities and oil and gas sectors, according to GSMA Intelligence. US operators are meeting this burgeoning growth by forming strategic alliances and tactical partnerships with industry specialists to address the specific needs of a variety of vertical sectors.

“The US has taken a leading role in the deployment of next-generation network technologies and is now extending that far-sighted approach to M2M technology, particularly with innovative services in the Connected Car and Connected Home spaces,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “However, without common, interoperable standards and appropriate regulation, the US market cannot reach its full potential. We look forward to continuing our work with US operators to help them deliver the full power of M2M technology and the Internet of Things, providing important socio-economic benefits to citizens and businesses alike.”

The US currently has 250 million cars on its roads, with 15.9 million either registered or purchased in 2013, according to the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA). In this context it is easy to understand why the automotive sector remains the largest addressable market for future M2M growth in America. Consumer demand for in-car connectivity and services such as fuel consumption, safety monitoring, real-time news, maintenance and even pay-as-you-drive insurance subscriptions are growing apace.

The US has also been fast to deploy smart grids that use connected smart meters to track energy consumption in real time and enable a homeowner or business to remotely monitor their use of power, with 43 million smart meters installed across the country as of the end of 2012. In many cases, smart meters may be integrated into a broader home automation system that enables the householder to remotely control heating, air conditioning, lighting and even individual appliances, such as security cameras or burglar alarms. There were approximately 2.3 million smart home installations in North America in 2013.

“Mobile networks are the platform upon which the M2M industry is being built and mobile operators are at the forefront in shaping the new business models that are driving this exciting market forward,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer at the GSMA. “The study issued today points to strong growth in the M2M space over the next six years, but also highlights the measures that industry players and regulators can adopt to further accelerate market development.

“To fully unlock the M2M market opportunity for both consumers and businesses, we need industry-wide collaboration to address the current fragmented marketplace and to drive economies of scale and global interoperability, which will benefit all players in the emerging M2M ecosystem. The GSMA is supporting this industry-wide collaboration as part of its Connected Living programme, as well as other initiatives.”

At the current rate of trajectory, cellular M2M connections will grow at 26 per cent per year (CAGR) in the period between 2014 and 2020. However, according to the report, this growth rate could accelerate beyond 40 per cent a year if desirable market conditions are achieved, leading to the potential two billion cellular M2M connections globally by 2020.

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