Demand for high-speed M2M devices to surge in 2014: AT&T

Customers with existing M2M applications will start to consume more data just as high-speed devices are adopted for particular M2M services for the first time.

Those are among AT&T’s (Dallas, TX, USA) headline predictions of the way the M2M market will develop in 2014.

According to Mobeen Khan, the executive director of mobility marketing for AT&T Business, companies that have already adopted M2M services will be keen to extract more from them in future.

For instance, a heavy equipment operator that was previously interested only in the location of assets may begin to log alarm and usage data on the equipment through the same application or new add-ons.

In the meantime, 4G and LTE devices will begin to make an appearance in new settings, as customers increase their use of data and more media-rich M2M applications.

The forecast is not altogether surprising given AT&T’s focus on LTE and announcement of plans to shut down its 2G network in the next few years.

Nevertheless, the idea that LTE will play a more important role in the M2M market in future has recently won support from the analyst community.

According to a recently published study from Machina Research, LTE is set to become the main cellular M2M technology by 2022, driven by the decommissioning of 2G networks, rapid expansion of LTE coverage and a fall in equipment prices.

AT&T also reckons security will become the number-one need of an M2M application in 2014.

“To date, companies deploying M2M solutions have looked to ROI as the number-one need,” said Khan. “As the ROI of these solutions becomes well known, focus is shifting to the security of these solutions.”

If security is the number-one need, deeper analytics looks set to become the number-one “want”, according to the operator, as customers increasingly look to make use of the data that M2M services generate.

According to Khan, the M2M commitments already made by major companies, including GE and GM, will create a “ripple effect [among] larger and midsize manufacturers, and the adoption will continue” in 2014, with more and more developers starting to experiment with M2M applications.