Internet-connected machines to rise, wireless carriers say- study

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Feb 17, 2014 01:32 PM EST

As the worldwide market for connections to cars, smart watches and thermostats start to soar, the connection of mobile carriers for these devices is expected to increase to 250 million in 2014, Bloomberg reported.

In a survey among wireless carriers, the GSMA industry association said this would be a rise from the 195 million recorded last year which represented 2.8% of mobile connections. The connections refer to links for those devices other than phones, tablets and laptops, the report said.

The GSMA said around 40% of the mobile operators worldwide provide machine-to-machine services, also known as M2M, a segment that is growing at a rate of around 38% annually since 2010. Vending machines that tell suppliers that the supply has run out and need refilling as well as thermostats that track the use of energy are some examples of devices that rely on M2M. Mobile carriers are putting their hopes on the market to give the next wave of growth as the mobile phone and laptop markets get saturated and growth slows, the report said.

GSMA Analyst Sylwia Kechiche told Bloomberg, "Operators not only want to provide connectivity, but they are trying to take a larger slice of the overall revenue opportunity." In order to do so, carriers are offering customers a host of services for connected machines. One of these is the Digital Life home automation packages of AT&T Inc that enables clients to remotely control their lights and track their security cameras, the report said.

According to the GSMA, one of the rapidly-growing areas of the market is the automotive industry because of services like in-car Internet access and traffic monitoring in real time, among others, the report said.

Citing data from McKinsey Global Institute, the report said the market for wireless, Internet-linked devices could potentially create a yearly economic value of anywhere from $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion by 2025.

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