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IoT Connectivity Management Apps Gain Momentum

Companies across the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem are seeking to overcome the inevitable commoditization of their niche area of specialization. Ascending the IoT value chain inevitably involves becoming a connectivity supplier.

Connectivity Management Platforms (CMPs) are part of the vendor offerings. They allow connectivity to be intelligently packaged for sale to IoT customers. Although CMPs are table stakes abilities for any company wishing to become an IoT service provider, development has not abated, and the market is becoming more competitive.

ABI Research has identified sixty-two companies offering CMPs, operated either proprietarily or commercially available to license. These companies span from connectivity resellers and aggregators to enterprise software developers, IoT service providers, and carrier-grade infrastructure manufacturers.

IoT Connectivity Management Market Development

"The largest CMP vendors such as Cisco and Ericsson, and their products have always acted as gateways for third party partnerships to jointly sell through to the same IoT enterprise customers," said Jamie Moss, research director at ABI Research.

IoT platforms are famously modular, with enterprises and service providers piecing together what they need from a variety of suppliers. Today, the CMP is also a nodal product for turnkey IoT system providers, acting as a gateway product to promote the sale of value-added components of their portfolio, and ideally the full stack.

From an enterprise customer perspective, CMPs are not typically charged for, but device management, and security management, and data orchestration platforms are, with CMPs acting as a single integrated management interface over them all.

ABI Research routinely examines the entire hardware component, as well as the software and services supply-side opportunity for the IoT, from the bottom up, application by application. 

At the of 2021, the global market for the sale of data transport, and the management of that connectivity, to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), enterprises, and municipalities was $12.14 billion. This annual total will more than double to $31.77 billion in 2026.

"The demand-side revenue that the enterprise purchasers of these services will realize in their return on investment (ROI), be it for downstream connected services and products sold, or internal operational processes optimized will be far greater still," Moss says.

Connectivity is literally the glue that brings together all supply-side elements of the IoT. Connectivity is the physical medium through which all IoT value is delivered, and all enterprise results are achieved. 

The way to expand within the IoT is to partner or acquire, and many companies have spent the last few years purchasing complementary specialists. And for their customers, the CMP is the face of the service propositions that they build.

The most famous carrier-grade CMP vendors plateaued in terms of unique contract awards years ago. Eighty percent of Cisco’s licenses came before the end of 2015, and more than 80 percent of Ericsson’s came before the end of 2018.

Outlook for IoT CMP Applications Growth

According to the ABI assessment, for Ericsson and Cisco, operator partner investments are now paying off as both vendors have experienced huge growth in the number of IoT connections their platforms manage over the last several years.

"But beyond the largest suppliers, it is innovation in service offerings from newer entrants including FloLive and 1nce -- that simplify the onboarding and payment processes, and the federated provision of global connectivity -- that is boosting the market and will help to carry it forward over the next 5 years," Moss concludes.

That said, vendors and service providers across the IoT value chain are converging on connectivity, and CMPs are foundational to them all. I believe this is likely to be a market that will continue to grow and evolve steadily over time as more organizations explore the applications of IoT technologies.

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