Harbor Research 2006: machines will talk more


Machines will communicate much more in coming years, according to a report for all major wireless and wireline technologies for the M2M (machine to machine) pervasive Internet market, covering eight key vertical market sectors and over 300 different device types by Harbor Research. The report, at close to 250 pages, spanned venues such as buildings, consumer/professional, energy, healthcare/life science, industrial, retail, and security/public safety and transportation.

The report contains over 80 forecast tables for wireless technologies, including wireless WAN (Cellular GSM, CDMA and others), wireless LAN, and wireless PAN (Bluetooth, ZigBee and other 802.15.4), at the device, network, and service levels for each region worldwide.

The forecast shows that modules for wireless and Wireline technologies will continue to grow substantially through 2011, with a combined annualized growth of over 64% including WPAN devices. Excluding these, unit shipments are still expected to grow at an average rate of 32% per annum. While this highlights the expected explosive growth of WPAN, it is also clear that device unit shipment growth for wireline, wireless WAN and wireless LAN technologies is also expected to be robust.

With the focus in the M2M-PI market now shifting toward higher level services, a major part of the report covers the rapidly growing network and managed service opportunities. The report assesses each of these by breaking them down further into key elements within each venue. The purpose of the elements is to aid the planning and justification for remote services in all venues.

Network Services Revenue is also expected to rise sharply over the period, demonstrating the huge opportunities for network operators and virtual network operators in the M2M-PI space over the forecast period. In addition to this, Harbor has identified a series of stages through which M2M-PI service offerings tend to evolve. The forecasts for service growth have taken the early stages of this trend as the basis for forecasting, so there is a considerable upside potential for later years depending how quickly businesses can address implementation issues at the higher service levels.

At the vertical market sector level, one of the most dramatic changes compared with previous forecasts has been the energy venue because of the increasing political focus on energy conservation, alternative forms of energy and environmental concerns. Out of the 30 devices covered, perhaps the most well known are utility meters on the demand side for commercial and residential premises. Less well known are supply-side opportunities, where there is now also a marked interest in remote services. Taken overall, M2M-PI service revenue in the energy venue is now expected to grow at an annualized rate of 49% for the period, a very significant increase over forecasts from two years ago.

The M2M-PI market is now reaching a degree of maturity; there is substantially greater recognition of the technology capabilities and the potential benefits of connecting devices to the Internet. The market will move forward into more complex applications where there is the need for innovation, which could be rewarded with considerably higher sales revenue.

—Edited by Lisa Sutor , Control Engineering contributing editor

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