M2M Revenues Forecast to More Than Treble over the Next Five Years

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Although machine to machine (M2M) technology is a bright spot in the rapidly maturing mobile industry operators will not realize its full potential without strategic partnering says Ovum. Forecasts from the global analyst firm show that over the next five years M2M revenues will grow to reach US$44.8bn with more than a third coming from Asia Pacific.

New forecasts from Ovum reveal that 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 percent. 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$15bn, at a CAGR of 26.5 percent, 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$7.9bn, US$7.1bn, and US$7bn respectively by 2018.

Ovum's M2M forecasts present a more modest and sober picture than some of those produced by other industry pundits. "This is not a forecast of the 'Internet of Things' but rather of managed and paid-for connections over public mobile networks, "says Jeremy Green, Principal Analyst, Industry Communications and Broadband at Ovum. "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."

The first is a smaller opportunity but is much more straightforward for telcos to address, according to Ovum. The second is much bigger, but involves new skills and competencies, and defining new kinds of relationship with systems integrators (SIs) and software development.

"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."

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