Is M2M really that big of a deal?
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is an area a lot of people are trying to understand better at the moment. One short piece of advice I’d give is to be very wary about different forecasts of the size of the market and number of connections, especially longer term, e,g, to 2020 or around that date).
There is a lot of buzz around M2M and one needs to separate enterprise-driven M2M from “the internet of things” to be able to drive to some meaningful projections. I doubt that we are going to see our refrigerators at home connected via cellular at any point, however we are seeing portable refrigerators (i.e. trucks) connected via M2M solutions to be able to track and monitor all sorts of useful data.
The most value in the enterprise M2M will be unlocked in the service wrap and management of solutions, rather than connectivity of various devices. Mobile operators might be inclined to go further the value chain and start providing higher value type services, such as system management, however ultimately are bound to struggle to do it cost effectively in competition with global specialised service providers.
Automotive industry and utilities are expected to be the largest by market size, however healthcare is the fastest growing, according to analysts. I haven’t seen a hard proof of these trends yet, having looked at M2M in detail for the past couple of weeks. At present, vehicles tracking and remote monitoring are largest applications according to my estimates and industry experts I spoke to. I do, however, believe that the intrinsic value of M2M mobile healthcare will be one of, if not the biggest of all.