Machine-to-machine, or M2M, refers to technology that allows and supports communication between machines and devices through both wireless and wired systems. It represents one aspect of the so-called Internet of Things. At its most basic level, M2M relates to connecting, monitoring, remote sensing and actuating devices. Many industries and vertical markets make use of M2M, or are projected to do so in the future. Overall M2M and the many different segments are projected to grow strongly over the next five to ten years by compound annual growth rates of 10 to 50 percent. The global M2M industry size is forecast to grow to around 200 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2020 according to Strategy Analytics.
Amongst the vertical markets and sectors of M2M are the automotive industry, the smart (connected) home market, intelligent buildings, smart cities and public transport, healthcare (mHealth), consumer electronics, the retail industry, manufacturing & supply chain (smart factory), utilities & energy and security applications. According to projections by Ovum healthcare, manufacturing and energy & utilities will be the most important verticals with each of those verticals forecast to generate revenues in excess of seven billion U.S. dollars by 2018.
The technologies used for M2M applications to ensure device connectivity are cellular (2G, 3G, 4G and LTE), wide area fixed, short range, MAN, short range and satellite connections. The total number of M2M connections is forecast to more than triple from around 100 million in 2012 to more than 350 million connections in 2018, at a CAGR of 22.6 percent. Data traffic from M2M communication was at more than 20 thousand terabytes per month in 2013 and is expected to grow to more than 900 terabytes per month by 2018.
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Lionel Sujay Vailshery
Research expert covering the consumer electronics industry