The year ahead and beyond

2012 was a big year for M2M growth and 2013 is expected to be even bigger with wireless M2M module shipments expected to grow from 76 million in 2012 to 104 million this year, according to the new Strategy Analytics M2M Strategies report.

Changes in regulation are expected to have a dramatic effect on the M2M market with the number of modules in operation shifting from millions to billions by 2020 as companies and governments worldwide address the growing demand for 'always-on' connectivity and increased mobility.

Machina Research has released its M2M prediction for 2013, placing operator alliances at the top of the list with NetComm Wireless' partner, Vodafone, expected to lead the expansion of alliances. Developments are also expected in the areas of data analytics, or 'big data'; 'fit-for-purpose' modules and vertical sector specific solutions.

The following vertical industries represent a significant market for M2M in the coming year, and for years to come:

Health: Telehealth, or mHealth, will be increasingly incorporated into post-acute care strategies from 2013 to help reduce readmissions as governments worldwide address chronic conditions in a rapidly aging population. Berg Insight estimates that the number of patients using dedicated remote home monitoring systems with integrated connectivity was about 2.8 million worldwide at the end of 2012, and this figure is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9 per cent between 2011 and 2017 to reach 9.4 million connections worldwide. The number of devices with integrated wireless connectivity increased from 0.73 million in 2011 to about 1.03 million in 2012, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 46.3 percent to 7.1 million in 2017. According to IMF Research, global telehealth revenues are forecast to grow 55 per cent in 2013; and Visiongain expects revenue for the wireless health market in the US alone to top $14 billion in 2016.

Retail: Wireless M2M connectivity enables ATMs, PoS terminals, vending machines, kiosks, parking meters and fare collection devices to be deployed in areas where fixed line connectivity is unavailable or impractical. With a potential retail market size of 80 million devices worldwide, Berg Insight forecasts the number of wireless M2M connections in the retail industry will grow at a CAGR of 21.6 per cent to reach 33.2 million connections in 2017.

Smart meters and grids: Governments and utility companies worldwide are implementing smart energy management solutions to better manage demand, reduce carbon emissions and provide customers with information designed to help reduce waste and save money. Already comprising almost a quarter of the global M2M market, M2M connections in the utilities sector are projected to increase from 140 million connections at the end of 2011 to 1.5 billion in 2020 (GII).

Security: Shipments of wireless M2M modules for security applications are forecast to grow from 2.3 million in 2009 to nearly 22 million in 2014 in Europe alone. At the same time, the number of alarm systems and tracking devices monitored from an alarm receiving centre and similar will grow from around 10 million in 2009 to 34 million by the end of 2014 (Berg Insight).

Automotive: A Europe-wide 'eCall' initiative promoted by the European Commission aims to ensure that all vehicles sold in Europe by 2013 will use a combination of M2M based services to automatically notify the relevant authorities of location and incident details in case of emergency (Visiongain).

The manufacturing, construction, finance, warehousing, insurance, logistics and transport industries will also continue to expand wireless M2M communications solutions over the year to increase productivity, enhance efficiency, decrease costs.

Overall, the value of the global M2M market will reach $66.4 billion and M2M connections will reach 854.7 million by 2016 (Visiongain).