Connected Devices Change Mobile Landscape


The connected-device landscape is continually populated with new gadgets that rely on M2M (machine-to-machine) technology to connect people, places, and things. In 2010 the market was flooded with these devices—from ereaders and tablets, to connected fitness gear—and for the first time, mobile operators face a market in which their customers have, rather than one or two mobile subscriptions, up to five or more devices that require connectivity.

According to Berg Insight,, an analyst firm based out of Sweden, the number of M2M subscribers increased by 46% in 2010 to an estimated 81.4 million. This means 2% of the world’s total mobile-network connections in 2010 were used for wireless M2M communications.

Berg forecasts the total number of these connections to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32%, reaching 294.1 million by 2015. If these numbers hold true, the 2010 percentage should double in the next five years, bringing M2M’s total share of the world’s mobile-network connections to 4%.

While it is important to take analysts’ numbers with a grain of salt when it comes to market-growth predictions, Berg’s forecasts seem plausible. For instance, a couple of years ago the average American may have owned a GPS unit or a smartphone, but that was probably the extent of their connected-device collection.

Today, this same average American might own an iPhone, a Kindle, a Ford vehicle with connected in-vehicle technology, a tablet device for business on the go, and a Garmin fitness watch. And the possibilities are endless. Next year, his/her home might be equipped with a smart meter, they may decide to invest in various home-automation systems for security system or energy-management, or they may equip themselves or their loved ones with a connected health-monitoring device/system.

Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst for Berg Insight, predicts the majority of the world’s next 5 billion mobile connections will be embedded into consumer devices, machines, and sensors. Considering even our toothbrushes may be connected by 2015, it may not be a stretch to believe the percentage of M2M connections may double in that timeframe.

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June/July 2014
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