What do M2M Users Really Want? – IMC Survey
Robin Duke-Woolley, Beecham Research
We have been working with the IMC – International M2M Council – on a large survey of adopter members which has just been published. The findings from this are revealing and help to confirm important trends going on in the M2M market that we have also measured elsewhere in other research activities and survey work.
A great deal of effort in the survey went into isolating true adopters – those who are actually using m2m solutions in their businesses rather than selling them or just talking about them. The aim was to look at the size of their deployments now and in the future, what connectivity they use now and expect to use in the future, what these solutions are used for and how important they are to their business.
For deployment size, we found that 64% of respondents currently have less than 1000 connected devices. In 3 years, though, that is expected to change dramatically, with 53% saying they expected to have more than 10,000 connected devices by then compared with just 19% now. By then, the number having less than 1000 devices goes down to just 16%. Not all of this will come to pass, of course, but it does indicate some very substantial growth in the market over the next few years.
A further key finding was a big increase in all forms of wireless connectivity expected over the next three years, but not so much for fixed line connections. Cellular was the most popular and continues to grow strongly, followed by short range wireless. Perhaps surprisingly, satellite received the biggest boost, with a lot more interest in using this expected within the next 3 years. One can speculate about this, but the argument that probably makes the most sense is that – as we get closer to 2020 – it will become more the norm for devices to be connected rather than the exception. That means connecting devices wherever they are, and cellular only covers about 8% of the world’s surface. Satellite – in one form or another – covers the other 92%. Also, satellite is no longer an expensive technology. The costs are coming right down, to the point where it can make sense as an alternative to cellular – particularly when there is roaming involved.
A further finding was the importance being placed on their M2M solutions. To the question “How important is the use of M2M/IoT solutions to your business unit’s operations?”, 57% acknowledged this as either very important or essential. Only 9% considered it not important.
Yet another finding showed that, although reducing operating costs internally is still a big motivator for using M2M solutions, this is expected to be eclipsed in the future by the opportunity to generate new service revenue. Also, meeting customer requirements is set to become more important. These two are more externally focused and indicate a broader role for M2M in the future.
Overall, these findings confirm that M2M solutions being used today are becoming more complex – and using multiple forms of connectivity – and are set to become increasingly important across the enterprise. The increasing reliance on these indicates they are also becoming mission critical – no longer just “nice to have”.
The survey report is available at the IMC website.