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Upside for Emerging Machine-to-Machine Applications

Mobile network service providers are upbeat about their new revenue sources in the future. The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies continue to gain momentum in the Global Networked Economy, as more organizations explore the application possibilities.

Berg Insight released their latest study findings about the market for cellular M2M terminals. About 4.9 million cellular M2M terminals were shipped globally during 2016 -- that's an increase of 28 percent from the previous year.

M2M Technology Market Development

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.8 percent, Berg Insight believes that this number is expected to reach 13.7 million M2M terminals in 2022.

Berg Insight defines cellular terminals as standalone devices intended for connecting M2M applications to a cellular network. These include primarily general-purpose cellular routers, gateways and modems that are enclosed in a chassis and have at least one input or output port.

Note, trackers, telematics devices and other specialized devices are excluded from this market study. That said, North American and Asian vendors dominate the global cellular M2M terminal market.

Cradlepoint, Sierra Wireless and Digi International are the largest vendors in North America, while SIMCom is the main manufacturer on the Asian market. Combined, these four vendors generated close to $415 million in revenues from M2M terminal sales during 2016. This is equivalent to nearly 50 percent of the global market.

Other noteworthy vendors include CalAmp, Multitech Systems and Encore Networks in the U.S. market, Xiamen Four-Faith, Maestro Wireless and InHand Networks in Asia, Teltonika, HMS Networks, Advantech B+B SmartWorx, NetModule, Matrix Electrónica, Eurotech, Gemalto, Dr. Neuhaus and Option in Europe, and NetComm Wireless in Australia.

A large number of small and medium-sized vendors are active on the European market, while the North American market is dominated by a handful of major technology vendors, largely due to barriers in the form of mobile communications carrier certifications required for cellular devices in the region.

"Adoption of 4G LTE in cellular routers, gateways and modems have increased rapidly in recent time, due to increased focus on product life cycle costs and decommissioning of 2G networks," said Fredrik Stålbrand, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

Outlook for M2M Application Growth

According to the Berg Insight assessment, two-thirds of the cellular M2M terminals sold globally during 2017 used 4G LTE as the main standard. LPWA technologies -- such as LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT -- are expected to ease the transition from 2G to LTE networks further.

In 2017, introductions of cellular M2M terminals featuring LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT technologies were made by Encore Networks, Maestro Wireless and MultiTech Systems and several vendors plan to launch new products with LPWA connectivity during 2018.

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