Report: M2M connections to jump to 326M by 2016

The number of machine-to-machine connections worldwide is expected to more than triple by 2016 compared to the figure in 2011, according to a new report from IMS Research, as carriers look to M2M for growth opportunities.

According to the report, the total number of global M2M connections will hit around 326 million by 2016, up from the 107 million IMS counted in 2011. IMS said the uptick will be driven by a number of factors, including the declining costs of components, modules and services; corporations looking to increase efficiency and get more revenue; government regulatory initiatives such as eCall in the European Union; and new tools and platforms that help to facilitate cellular M2M application development.

IMS' forecast is roughly in line with another from Berg Insight, which in May forecasted that there would be 359.3 million total M2M cellular connections in 2016.

"Mobile operators are not simply providing managed connectivity services to the cellular M2M market but increasingly are 'connecting the dots' among M2M ecosystem players, including suppliers and developers--and this benefits the market as a whole," IMS analyst Sam Lucero said in a statement. "Examples of this proactive role by mobile operators range from establishing module supply programs to developing partnerships with platform vendors and solution suppliers to reduce overall complexity in the value chain."

Operators will likely look for more ways to get revenue out of the M2M market as it expands, IMS said. The research firm estimates that only 10 to 30 percent of the overall value in the M2M market comes from carriers providing connectivity for devices. As such, carriers are looking to get more revenue through value-added services to solution developers as well as end-to-end applications to end-users.

In related M2M research, Juniper Research predicted that revenues from products and services delivered over embedded consumer electronics devices will reach $6.4 billion in 2014. Juniper said a key factor will be the M2M market. The report said that ebook sales and subscriptions will be "by far" the most important service offered over cellular-enabled consumer electronics devices.

Juniper also said the price of M2M modules will continue to decline, particularly the price of 3G modules. Further, the firm said LTE M2M modules will become increasingly popular in the automotive industry and in specific applications such as live video monitoring.

For more:
- see this IMS release
- see this Juniper release

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