The number of global M2M connections will reach a quarter of a billion this year, according to new research from the GSM Association (GSMA).
The lobby group said the increase proves that M2M has become a major growth area for mobile operators.
According to the GSMA, the number of global M2M connections reached 195 million in 2013, having grown by nearly 40% between 2010 and 2013, and accounted for 2.8% of all global mobile connections at the end of 2013 – up from 1.4% in 2010.
The GSMA says that operators are now starting to scale deployments of M2M solutions across a range of vertical sectors.
“We are now living in a world where every device, machine or appliance can be wirelessly connected to the internet, providing a wealth of real-time information that can transform how people live and work,” said Hyunmi Yang, chief strategy officer with the GSMA. “For mobile operators, connecting ‘machines’ to their networks is now a major focus area.”
Yang says operators now have an opportunity to add value beyond connectivity by developing M2M capabilities that address the issue of fragmentation and stimulate new service development.
Device management, security and big data are all areas where operators could drive forwards M2M development, says the GSMA.
According to the report, some 428 mobile operators now offer M2M services in 187 countries and many are moving from an “early stage” to a “mass market” delivery phase.
Operators have also been adapting their organizations and business models to better address the M2M opportunity.
The automotive industry was singled out in the GSMA report as one of the fastest-growing markets, with consumers now able to benefit from in-car connectivity and services like pay-as-you-drive insurance and real-time traffic management.
“It is clear that the M2M market has moved from a period of development towards a commercial deployment phase,” said Jurgen Hase, the vice president of Deutsche Telekom’s M2M Competence Center. “M2M is of significant strategic importance to our business with huge growth potential across a number of industry segments.”