Barely two months after declaring in an early October guest blog post that “there is massive, unlimited growth potential in the M2M and embedded computing space,” I was pleased to see independent validation of that viewpoint from the analyst organization Analysys Mason a couple of weeks before Christmas.
The organization came out with a report predicting that the number of M2M devices will grow 36 to 52 percent this year and each year throughout this decade, with about 2.1 billion connected devices by 2020. That compares with about 62 million such devices currently.
Much of that growth, the report says, will be driven by the utilities, healthcare, and securities industries, even though the currently more M2M-heavy verticals are automotive and transport. The company anticipates that more than 60 percent of connected devices as of 2020 – that works out to about 1.3 billion of the 2.1 billion – will be in the utilities sector. Analysys Mason sees an explosion of device-centric solutions in areas such as smart metering, home and business surveillance, disease management, and asset surveillance. Also, while commercial usage drives M2M deployments today, the report sees the pendulum swinging to the consumer side over the next decade.
Geographically, the report says that although 30 percent of current M2M connections are in North America, that share will decline probably to around 20 percent as the rest of the world embraces M2M.
This promising future for M2M is what led Sprint to inaugurate a new M2M Collaboration Center last October, creating a truly open environment dedicated to the advancement of M2M technology and applications. This working lab, located in Burlingame, California, is a place where business customers and Sprint experts can work together to develop M2M ideas and applications and make them market-ready.
The M2M Collaboration Center is all about openness, with customers, Sprint team members, and Sprint M2M partners working together in a common effort. It was also a prelude to next year’s launch of the Sprint Command Center, designed as a self-service offering where businesses can manage their M2M devices. The Command Center dashboard will enable users to interactively load and manage M2M devices directly on the Sprint network. This open access service, using dedicated network elements, gives M2M customers tremendous network control, including functions such as device management and testing, account management, and tools to develop M2M applications.
With this kind of interest in M2M and these kinds of market predictions, maybe another comment from that earlier blog post – “fasten your seat belts, because this ride is only starting” – will turn out to be more prophetic than I thought.