ABI Research Publishes Machine-to-Machine Market Forecasts

Markets for cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) communication modules – the radio units providing wireless connectivity to a range of devices that communicate without human intervention – are expected to show strong growth in the coming years. According to new market data from ABI Research, shipments will total nearly 80 million modules in 2013.

“The latest cellular M2M module market data collated by ABI Research shows strong growth trends that are closely in line with our earlier forecasts,” says senior analyst Sam Lucero. “We see four applications that will be particularly fertile for M2M and should provide significant opportunities for vendors.”

OEM telematics. While encompassing a variety of services, OEM telematics today is driven by automatic emergency service applications such as GM’s widely deployed OnStar, as well as by in-dash navigation systems. “In the US, the competitive response to OnStar’s success is a major factor in promoting cellular M2M,” says Lucero. Most of the major car manufacturers are responding with their own telematics programs. This will be more evident in the 2009-2010 model years. Later, eCall, despite a shaky start, is expected to create strong demand in Europe. There are also OEMT telematics programs in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan and South Korea.

Advanced (or “smart”) metering. Rollouts of electricity and water meters that transmit their data automatically via powerline, wireless sensor networks, and cellular connections are powered by utilities’ desire for demand-response functionality, for energy-efficiency purposes as well as operational efficiencies. It is happening in all developed regions of the world.

Point-of-sale terminals including ATMs. The ongoing shift to cashless transactions sees POS applications going increasingly wireless. Lucero notes that, “Traditionally, merchants had to arrange their own connectivity. Now there is a global push to bundle cellular connectivity as an offering to merchants along with the POS terminal.” Major vendors VeriFone, Ingenico, and Hypercom are rolling out their own cellular connectivity services worldwide.

Home security and managed home automation. There’s a trend to add wireless as a backup or replacement option for traditional landline connectivity. Cellular service providers want to get into the (primarily North American/European) security and managed home automation markets.

ABI Research’s “M2M Market Forecasts” tracks the M2M market on the basis of wireless WAN embedded modules and product revenue, as well as wireless WAN active nodes and service revenue. It forms part of the firm’s M2M Research Service.

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