The global machine-to-machine communications market is expected to generate US $10 billion in revenues for mobile operators this year and is forecast to grow to US $88 billion in 2023, according to a recent report. By that year, approximately two thirds of M2M connections are expected to involve public utilities, with the automotive and transportation industries also comprising a significant amount. Proportionally speaking, M2M will become more heavily represented in emerging economies during the coming decade, as the market share in developed countries is expected to decline from 68 percent to 62 percent, due in part to falling costs.
Clearly, this report is good news for MNOs. As demand for traditional core services like telephony and SMS declines, M2M is one of a number of directions in which operators can look for revenue. According to the present report, that revenue is set to grow eightfold over the next 10 years, and the growth will be particularly strong in developing countries where MNOs may be looking to expand. The so-called “internet of things”—the network of connections between devices as diverse as sensors and actuators, asset-tracking modules, medical and navigation devices, and remote video recorders—is getting larger, and there is the potential for it to make more use of broadband in place of the narrowband networks that it has mainly used to date.