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Personal Area Networks will Drive M2M Adoption

The Internet of Things will likely become a mainstream phenomena in a few key industries before it penetrates the whole global networked economy. Therefore, it will be important to share those early-adopter applications with others, so that more broader market development can occur over time.

Infonetics Research released excerpts from its new "M2M Connections and Services by Vertical" report, which provides market size, analysis, and forecasts for machine-to-machine (M2M) connections and services by technology, vertical, and geographic region.

"M2M is one of the fastest-growing major new segments for service providers," said Godfrey Chua, analyst at Infonetics Research. "We forecast global revenue from M2M services to more than double between 2012 and 2017, from just under $15 billion to $31 billion."

That being said, what's often overlooked about M2M is that it will be delivered to the world by way of a portfolio of access technologies -- some are already being built by mobile network service providers.

Cellular networks represent the most meaningful revenue opportunity for operators, but by far the most popular way to connect to M2M services is via PAN (personal area network) wireless technologies -- such as WiFi, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and IP500, which do not generate connection revenue.

It's therefore critical that mobile network operators incorporate a broader view of the various M2M access technologies into their M2M deployment strategies.


Highlights from the M2M market study include:

  • There were nearly 1.4 billion M2M connections worldwide in 2012, with PAN wireless technologies comprising the vast majority.
  • Making up just under 190 million connections today, M2M connections via cellular and other WAN wireless technologies are projected to nearly triple by 2017, becoming the largest growth engine for operator revenue.
  • More than 16 percent of total M2M service revenue, almost $2.4 billion, is derived from M2M backhaul services.
  • The automotive, transport, and logistics sector made up 1/3 of total M2M service revenue in 2012, driven by vehicle tracking, navigation, and delivery applications.
  • North America and Europe are the key centers of M2M service growth, together accounting for 72 percent of the total market.
  • In 2012, China Mobile overtook AT&T in M2M connections leadership, but AT&T remains the revenue leader due to higher ARPC (average revenue per connection).

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