No sex please, we're European

Feb 7, 2013

Pyramid says M2M cell connections will increase from 2012's 143.7 million to 478.1 million in 2017 and will generate airtime revenues of $13 billion, up from today's $4.9 billion.

That's a healthy growth rate but it means that M2M cell connections will still only represent 5.6 per cent of all cellular subscriptions, says the research firm.

So what are the areas to watch? Pyramid points out that connected car developments look positive and are being driven in many parts of the world by governments. Brazil will become the third largest M2M market largely on the back of regulations designed to promote car telematics.

In Europe many experts expect that EU rules stopping sex discrimination in car insurance (women are the losers here since they are - on average - far safer drivers than men and have hitherto enjoyed lower premiums as a result) will also be a boost.

Since European insurers will no longer be allowed to discriminate on sex grounds they are looking for something more fine-grained that could give both a more accurate actuarial assessment and a means of complying with the regs.

They think they've found a replacement in vehicle telematics which can return a record of individual driver behaviour against which his or her accident risk (and both higher and lower premiums) could be calculated.

Insurance policies which use the technology are already available, but the category is expected to grow fast.

Pyramid also points out that cellular-based eReaders (in paticular, the original Amazon Kindle) have had their brief place in the sun and are on a steep decline - WiFi readers are taking over and these are less able to fit into a M2M product/service category.

The original Kindle saw the data subscription bought for the life of the particular unit and was enabled just for the book download application. Many market analysts therefore squeezed Kindle into the M2M category on the basis that it functioned without explicit user intervention - completely different from a broadband mobile data subscription.

The market has now moved away from that model: it all goes to show that M2M adoption in a particular category might go down as well as up.

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