Chinese manufacturers have cornered much of the technology sector, but when it comes to M2M modules they are being outpaced by their Western rivals, according to a new study from ABI Research.
Sierra Wireless (Richmond, Canada) and Cinterion (Munich, Germany) claim the top spots in a new ranking of M2M vendors published by ABI Research, while Huawei (Shenzhen, China) and ZTE (Shenzhen, China) come sixth and seventh.
The methodology assesses companies on the basis of unit shipments and revenues.
“Chinese firms have shown to be formidable competitors in many electronics and mobile equipment markets,” said Dan Shey, M2M practice director for ABI Research. “For example, Huawei has been number one in personal cellular modem shipments since 2007. In the M2M module market, Huawei only ranked number five in shipments and even lower in revenue rankings.”
According to ABI Research, the complexity of implementing an M2M communications program is forcing enterprise customers to seek out vendors that also provide platform and service assistance. Sierra Wireless and Cinterion have been successful because they not only provide modules but also offer application development and professional services.
Even so, Shey reckons it would be a mistake to dismiss the Chinese competition. “Huawei, for example, went from a number eight ranking to a number one ranking in two years in the personal cellular modem market,” he says. “They have the resources to improve their competitiveness and market share if they choose.”
ABI Research says that module pricing is likely to fall by as much as 18% a year between now and 2015, and that many module vendors are turning to acquisitions to boost their competitive position.