The number of M2M mobile connections will grow 220% in the next five years. NB-IoT, LTE-M and 5G will represent almost 10% of the total connections. The operators do not want to lose their mouthful of the pie.

The ‘boom’ of mobile connections M2M is coming. The number of connected devices is growing at an exorbitant rate and we are only at the beginning of the road.

According to the study ‘M2M: Key Verticals, Technology Analysis & Forecasts 2018-2022’ , prepared by Juniper Research, it is estimated that at the end of 2017 there were already 400 million M2M cellular connections. The figure is not bad, but it is going to shoot in the next five years. Thus, the consultancy calculates that there will be 1,300 million connections in 2022, which represents a growth of 220%. The deployment of new technologies will contribute to this. Not surprisingly, it is estimated that 10% of the total connections in that year will correspond to emerging mobile networks such as NarrowBand-IoT, LTE-M and 5G.

The operators rub their hands before the market that opens before their eyes. Juniper indicates that the ‘telecos’ are accelerating to take the lead in the race for the development of connectivity necessary to support the enormous growth of the connections that are predicted by the new uses that are beginning to emerge.

The consultant advances the greatest growth in the number of M2M mobile connections, coming from smart cities (with a compound annual growth rate of -CAGR, in its acronym in English- of 66%), agriculture (CAGR + 37% -) and the smart meters (CAGR + 34%). The study indicates that the smart city will greatly benefit from LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) access technologies,forecasting that more than 25% of smart city devices and applications will operate on these networks by 2022. This is explained by the low cost per connection of LPWA networks and battery life of up to 10 years, making them attractive to monitor the activities of the city, including transport or energy infrastructure, for example.

In addition, he believes that 5G technology will be essential to handle the growing data traffic generated by smart city devices. The report points out that services such as traffic information and pedestrian traffic will generate more than 160 Petabytes of data traffic per year in 2022. And connected cars will generate more than 7,000 Petabytes of data. Juniper says that this increase in cellular traffic requires the transformation of the network architecture, in order to provide the level of services expected from the smart city.

In this sense, the development of ‘edge computing’ becomes an essential factor. “The ‘edge computing’ will provide the network capabilities necessary for the provision of services. Decentralizing network functions by moving them to the extreme will facilitate ultra-low latency and the fastest processing power needed, “explains Sam Barker, author of the study.