Rise of the mobile-savvy machines

6 May 2008

Some 186 million machines will communicate with each other using mobile technology by 2012, analyst firm Berg Insight has estimated.

In 2007, the number of cellular connections used for machine-to-machine communication was 37.5 million.

GSM and legacy technologies currently dominate the market and accounted for about 71pc of the total number of active connections at the end of 2007. CDMA was the second-largest technology with a strong foothold in North America and parts of Asia-Pacific. WCDMA has so far primarily been adopted for machine-to-machine applications in Japan. Elsewhere, the adoption is held back by high component costs and limited network coverage.

Berg Insight said machine-to-machine applications today represent between 1-3pc of the reported number of mobile subscribers in developed markets. Sweden and Finland buck the trend due to extensive use of GPRS for meter reading applications, bringing the share in these countries closer to 10pc due to extensive use of GPRS for meter reading applications.

The analyst firm forecasts that vehicle telematics applications will dominate the machine-to-machine cellular market in most parts of the world and account for over half of all network connections in 2012.

“Safety and security concerns – manifested either in public regulations or customer preferences – is tipping the balance in favour of massive rollouts of telematics applications by the global automotive industry,” said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight.

“In North America, OnStar already gives peace of mind to millions of drivers. Europe is well on the way to introducing the eCall automatic emergency call system and several Latin American countries are considering mandatory tracking devices on all new cars to combat epidemic vehicle crime.”

By Niall Byrne