Global IoT connections – from 2G to 5G – after hitting almost 261 million at the end of 2015, are set to reach 1.22 billion in 2021, according to a report from Beecham Research.
While Western Europe and North America still lead in terms of adoption of cellular M2M and IoT connections, the APAC region, headed by China, is now driving the market along with new players such as Brazil and Russia, said the report.
It further added that low-data IoT will be increasingly dominated by LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks) solutions that will contribute to the erosion of 2G IoT connections, while operators will push the move towards 3G, 4G and eventually 5G for more data intensive applications.
The US market is now the second largest after China, and it continues to grow with major interest in areas such as smart homes – driven by the likes of AT&T – along with the industrial IoT. In Western Europe projects such as smart metering are driving the market in countries such as the UK and Netherlands, while attention on other forms of connectivity such as LPWANs is also having an impact.
The study also points to strong growth in the Arab States and Sub-Saharan Africa, but for different reasons. While Israel and the Arab States are developing smart city, energy and environmental IoT applications, the focus in Africa is on remote payments as well as healthcare, water systems and agriculture. The IoT vision is also starting to take shape in countries such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam due to government initiatives across urban and rural areas.
The report adds that in Latin America different applications are fuelling different markets within the same region. For example, Mexico is driven by transport including connected cars and with strong attention on consumer technology, while in Argentina the focus is on smart city projects and applications such as fleet management. Telematics along with public safety and security are common across the whole of South America, said the report.