Cellular M2M due for a steady rise

Perhaps it’s because, for mobile operators, M2M/IoT is one of the only reasons left to be cheerful about the medium term. Minus that and there’s nothing but mild revenue shrinkage to look forward to so it’s little wonder that M2M gets its share of boosting out there in the marketplace. Ovum’s M2M expert and principal analyst, Jeremy Green, on the other hand, would rather inject a little sanity.

For Jeremy there’s the billions of units IoT market, emerging as a function of steadily decreasing device costs (see - Intel’s Edison: hopefully more than just a mug’s game) on the one hand. And on the other there is what we might call the traditional M2M market.

So he’s steered clear of the more opaque Internet of Things in favour of some solid numbers. His Ovum figures relate to “paid-for connections over public mobile networks, ” he says. “For telcos there are really two opportunities: to stand back and provide the connectivity for M2M services, or to roll up their sleeves and get involved with the end-to-end provision of solutions.”

If it’s to be sleeve-rolling, then operators just have to do some strategic partnering, he says.

“If a carrier wants to play an essential part as a connectivity provider and focus just on that role, it must have healthy and robust relationships with device manufacturers and SIs,” explains Green. “If a carrier sees itself as an end-to-end provider, its partnering relations are even more critical, because it is unlikely to be heard at the CxO level within an enterprise client unless it is working with a global SI.”

Over the next five years Ovum is forecasting that M2M revenues will grow to US$44.8bn, with more than a third coming from Asia-Pacific. Revenues will grow slightly more slowly than connections, reflecting the increasing competitiveness of the market and the extension of M2M into lower-value applications.

Total global M2M connections will more than treble from 106.4 million in 2012 to 360.9 million in 2018, at a CAGR of 22.6 per cent. There will be growth across all regions, but it will be fastest in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa. Revenues in Asia-Pacific will grow to almost US$15 billion, at a CAGR of 26.5 per cent, between 2012 and 2018. The most important industry verticals in 2018 will be healthcare, manufacturing, and energy & utilities, which are forecast to generate revenues of US$7.9 billion, US$7.1 billion, and US$7 billion respectively by 2018.

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