With an estimated six billion of the planet’s population connected to mobile the potential to continue to add human connections may begin to be limited by the global population growth, but the race won’t stop there. The next challenge is to connect more and more machines to mobile networks.
According to research conducted by Machina Research for the GSMA there will be 24 billion connected devices by 2020 – that’s only eight years away. The vast majority of these connections will be machine to machine connections rather than person to person.
Machine to machine (M2M) communications is not new – it’s been used extensively by Utilities, emergency services and retailers for some time, but now mobile operators are looking more closely about how they can benefit.
Recently the Mobile Data Association (MDA) held an event in London called ‘Challenges, Strategies and Opportunities in M2M’. An audience of hardware manufacturers, mobile operators, integrators and other interested parties were there to hear how to take advantage of an industry that is scheduled to grow by a minimum of 25% year on year. The fact that companies like BDO, Freescale, Qualcomm and IBM all presented demonstrates the breadth of opportunities in M2M. The presence of several investors in the room suggests that this could be the next white hot area in mobile.
To cite just one example: in 1950 there were 14 people in work to every one retired. In 2050 there will be 2 people in work to every one retired. To manage this, countries face either vastly increasing healthcare costs (not popular at the moment) or helping people to live longer at home via remote monitoring. These are big issues for society and M2M could provide a way of helping to unlock solutions.
Stream Communications, who have featured on Mobile Industry Review before, is a specialist M2M mobile virtual network operator in the UK and the founder, Nigel Chadwick, has taken on the role of Vice Chairman of the MDA. He is keen to involve as many interested parties as possible in the M2M opportunity and drive the MDA as a resource for M2M knowledge and sharing. To this end, events like the one above are going to take place more often.
To keep informed of the next event or for more information keep in touch with the MDA’s website.