According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the cellular M2M market will increase from about 110 million cumulative connections globally in 2011 to roughly 453 million cumulative connections by 2017.
That being said, a key challenge for the mobile network service provider industry remains the ecosystem complexity of developing, deploying, and managing M2M applications over the cellular network.
"This is a challenge both for mobile network operators (MNOs) that are trying to offer profitable services tailored to the M2M market, as well as for application developers and service providers that are trying to reduce costs, speed time to market, and simplify robust application deployments,” says practice director, Sam Lucero at ABI Research.
Two key M2M software platform markets have emerged to address these challenges: connected device platforms (CDPs) and application enablement platforms (AEPs). CDPs enable the cost-effective deployment and management of M2M connections over cellular networks.
AEPs enable quicker and less expensive application development as well as granular remote device management. Several large MNOs have self-built their own CDPs, including AT&T, Vodafone, and Telefonica, among others.
However, merchant market CDPs -- such as those offered by Jasper Wireless, Ericsson, NEC, NSN and others -- will increasingly become the primary option for MNOs newly entering the market, as well as a second and complementary option for MNOs that already have self-built CDPs deployed.
Core CDP functionality is going to become an increasingly commoditized aspect of the network, better left to third parties that can amortize development costs across multiple MNO customers.
The more nascent, and smaller, AEP market will grow quickly as application developers seek to offload core functionality, such as data normalization, data modeling, and providing a rules engine, onto third-party platforms, rather than developing the application on a completely customized basis.
Leading pure-play AEP vendors include Axeda and ILS Technology. According to Lucero, "The AEP market is set to grow from about $168.9 million in 2011 to nearly $1.72 billion in 2017."