Generational Influence for M2M

7/16/2012


The generational motivation behind M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is becoming abundantly clear. As various market segments look to take off in the coming years, their growth will be predicated on user demand.
 
Despite the perception that only the younger generation will drive this growth, evidence shows that demand is coming from all ages. Just this past week, the market uncovered two trends to monitor in the area of M2M-based technology, once driven by a younger demographic and another by the older.
 
ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, unveiled numbers that predict the market for in-home monitoring technology is set to take off, driven by a combination of factors that include a growing senior demographic combined with economic, social, and technological developments. Devices that can extend and improve in-home care are set to take off, according to ABI Research, as older adults, as well as those that take care of them, are focused on health monitoring and extending and enhancing the comfort, safety, and well-being for their loved ones.

With that in mind, ABI says monitoring devices, which currently sit at just under 3 million units, will grow to more than 36 million units by 2017. During that same period, ABI says home monitoring will come close to doubling its share of the wearable wireless device health market to 22%. Currently this marketshare sits at roughly 12%.

As pointed out by ABI, market demand will also need to be driven by healthcare providers and caregivers who look for technology options to help improve the monitoring of seniors in their own homes. This is where the economic factor comes into play, with seniors that want to stay at home longer, and loved ones that might not be able to afford assisted-living arrangements.


The question of whether or not these devices will run on cellular connections is perhaps a debate for another time. On the whole, wireless communications, in the form of using either short-range technologies or cellular communications, will play a strong role.

We have already seen this trend bring new innovative products to market, and ABI Research points to the fact this potential in the market could bring new players into the market, ranging from what it calls traditional specialists, to established healthcare device players, and even a group of start-ups looking to, as ABI says, leverage device availability and broadband connections into senior’s homes.
 
On another front, a younger generation enthralled by video gaming and other connected devices could be a driving force behind gesture-based communication in devices going forward. In another research report, ABI Research forecasts 600 million smartphones will be shipped with vision-based gesture recognition features in 2017.

As ABI points out, camera-based tracking for gesture recognition has already been quite prevalent in the market, with game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation featuring gesture recognition equipment.

However, the research firm points to several challenges facing the growth of gesture-recognition technology for mobile devices. These include effectiveness of the technology in adverse light conditions, variations in the background, and high power consumption—challenges that could be met as technologies continue to evolve.

ABI points to two technologies in particular: Qualcomm, www.qualcomm.com, and its Snapdragon chipset processors, which feature visional gesture recognition technology; and Intel, www.intel.com, which despite a large focus on touch technology in its ultrabooks and notebooks in the past year, could also look heavily into gesture-based features going forward.

Despite all the predictions, it is anyone’s guess as to how far certain market segments can climb. Regardless, whether a market will indeed prosper or dip is contingent upon user adoption. In the burgeoning area of M2M and connected devices, it is good to know that users, both older and younger, will have a say in the direction of the market. Now it is just time to sit back and watch as the various members of the technology community listen and apply their collective knowledge.





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June/July 2014
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