According to the latest market study by ABI Research, cellular wireless machine-to machine (M2M) application development has traditionally been a complex, costly, and time-consuming endeavor.
Typically, software developers create their applications from start to finish as entirely custom projects. However, across different applications and verticals, there is actually much commonality of requirements in terms of core features and functionality.
For example, how to model an object in the application, how to create rules and alerts, and how to provide security mechanisms are all features that span the M2M market.
Increasingly, third-party providers of what ABI Research calls Application Enablement Platforms (AEPs) -- software designed to provide these core features for multiple M2M applications -- are stepping up their efforts to abstract away much of the burden of application development.
"ABI Research believes the Market for AEP software will grow from about $169 million in 2011 to roughly $1.7 billion by 2017," says ABI Research practice director Sam Lucero.
Despite the vast opportunity for merchant-market AEP solutions, the market at present is nascent, small, and comprised of a variety of vendors coming to the market from differing backgrounds.
ABI Research counts over 30 companies currently active in this space, ranging from pure-play providers like Axeda, ILS Technology, and ThingWorx, to M2M module and modem suppliers like Digi International, Sierra Wireless, Novatel Wireless, and Eurotech, to core network infrastructure providers like NSN and NEC.
ABI Research believes that at the present state of market development, the pure-play providers as well as those coming at the market from a module/modem background, are gaining the most traction in the market. This is a benefit of their close focus on the M2M market and their nuanced understanding of the needs of M2M application providers.
However, there is clear opportunity for consolidation going forward, and ABI Research expects that as the M2M market becomes ever more mainstream, it is likely that large core network infrastructure and IT equipment vendors with deep pockets will start to “roll up” the smaller players in a natural process of consolidation.