UK analyst house, Juniper Research, is predicting that revenues from products and services delivered over 'embedded' consumer electronics devices (devices with cellular connection built in) will reach $6.4 billion in 2014. By I.D. Scales
Juniper says eBook sales and subscriptions will be by far the most important services offered over cellular connected consumer electronics devices. At this point only a few others have emerged - such as digital photo frames and Sony's PS Vita games console.
According to report author Anthony Cox, this lack of pick-up is partly because the smartphone itself can now perform many of the functions that bespoke devices may have been created for up until now. But, he says, the eReader will outweigh all other consumer electronic devices in its ability to bring in revenue.
As Juniper is looking at service revenue growth from specific embedded devices there's a tricky job to do here to tease out and justify the difference between embedded devices which generate a specific M2M service, and devices which parlay an M2M application across an existing, general-purpose link. For instance, in a home where WiFi is already used to connect to a broadband service, the arrival of WiFi-only eReaders (WiFi-only readers now account for the vast majority of Kindles and other brands) wouldn't count in the figures.
"Essentially [the way we count things] consumer electronics embedded devices refer to units where the connectivity is sold with the device as part of the initial sales package and that are not part of an existing voice or data subscription, as is the case with the eReader.
For this reason, we define embedded consumer electronics as being where a device has connectivity which is not associated with an existing mobile data or voice subscription."
As time goes on, though, WiFi service costs may well be part-justified by the householder because they connect multiple eReaders - so service may we be triggered (slightly less directly) by the device purchase. More importantly, it's only a matter of time before mobile network operators will be forced by the market to offer multi-device tariffs - one big data bucket which can be shared across multiple users and devices. At this point the connectivity counting game might become slightly harder as users simply demand that their eReaders and digital picture frames should be included. See - The M2M conversation so far: business models and commodity
• M2M and embedded devices to reach close to half a billion M2M and embedded devices by the end of 2017, from a little over 130 million at present
• The price of M2M modules will continue to reduce, particularly the price of 3G modules, as automotive and consumer electronics use-cases require improved bandwidth and latency
• APIs from M2M specialists are becoming increasingly sophisticated increasing the level of data analysis available to those deploying M2M solutions
• 4G chipsets, while shipping in very low volumes at present, will find their market in the automotive industry and specific applications such as live video monitoring
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