The global wireless M2M market performed well in 2013, displaying growth in all major world regions and vertical segments. Berg Insight estimates that shipments of cellular M2M devices increased by 13.5 percent to a new record level of 68.0 million units. Adjusted for churn, this resulted in net additions of 33.4 million M2M connections in 2013, taking the worldwide number of cellular M2M subscribers to an estimated 176.4 million. Until 2019, Berg Insight forecasts that shipments of cellular M2M devices are forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4 percent to reach 207.8 million units. Due to the wide adoption of wireless M2M technology across many industries, a substantial share of M2M device shipments is now generated from replacement sales. Furthermore there will be a growing number of dormant devices in segments such as automotive and consumer electronics that never become activated. As a result the net increase of M2M subscribers will be substantially lower than M2M device shipments. Berg Insight forecasts that the number of cellular M2M connections will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9 percent between 2014 and 2019 to reach 599.7 million at the end of the period.
M2M and connected devices are widely recognised as key future growth markets among the leading players in the mobile telecommunications industry. China Mobile reported 32.0 million M2M subscribers in China at the end of 2013. Vodafone is the largest international provider of M2M connectivity, as well as a major regional player in Europe, with a reported subscriber base of 15.2 million. AT&T was number one in the US market reporting 16.3 million M2M subscribers, ahead of Verizon Wireless at approximately 9.0 million. Telefónica ranked number five worldwide, with 8.6 million reported M2M subscribers in Europe and Latin America, barely ahead of China Unicom with approximately 8.5 million. Other top ten players included Softbank/Sprint, Deutsche Telekom, Telenor and America Móvil with between 6.7 million and 8.0 million M2M subscribers each.
The mega-trend driving technology adoption in Europe and North America is what Berg Insight calls the concept of connected management. The IT-revolution has created new opportunities to collect and analyse data for the purpose of managing objects and behaviours. Connected management is based on the connection of remote devices to applications for the purpose of managing assets & products, costs & revenues, relationships & behaviour etcetera. The connected car is a typical application area where automobile manufacturers develop solutions enabling themselves and the driver to manage the vehicle and the driving experience through a range of applications. Connected fleets is the underlying trend for most other vehicle-based applications that enable fleet operators and external stakeholders such as governments, insurance companies and financial service providers to manage vehicles, operations, risks and revenues associated to the vehicle such as taxes and insurance premiums. The Connected Enterprise is emerging as a blueprint for corporate management, based on the vision that every asset and product should be directly linked to the enterprise network, feeding data in real-time to relevant IT-systems.
China has emerged as the world's largest market for wireless M2M communications in terms of installed base and recorded massive growth rates over the past years. The Chinese M2M market is strongly influenced by centralised planning by the national government. During the first half of 2012, the Chinese government announced a series of initiatives for the IoT sector as part of the 12th five-year plan for the period 2011-2015. IoT was selected as one of the main national strategic emerging industries, with a particular focus on smart sensors and RFID technologies. Cellular M2M technology is also finding many applications, particularly in smart grid, intelligent transportation and public safety. China's national utility State Grid began deploying smart meters on a large scale during 2011 and expects to cover the vast majority of its customers by the end of 2015. During 2012 and 2013, the utility procured around 18 million data concentrators for the rollout, which Berg Insight believes accounted for a significant part of the reported net additions of M2M subscribers in China during the period.
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