A new report from Juniper Research has found that the total number of cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will reach 1.3 billion by 2022, representing a 220 per cent increase from an estimated 400 million in 2017.
The new research, M2M: Key Verticals, Technology Analysis & Forecasts 2018-2022, found that emerging cellular networks, including NB-IoT, LTE-M and 5G, will grow together to account for just under 10 per cent of all cellular M2M connections by 2022. Operators are now racing to provide the underlying connectivity for the future high growth of connections, spurred on by the enabled emerging use cases.
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M2M: Fastest Growing Sectors
The research forecasts that the following sectors will witness the highest growth rates in terms of cellular M2M connections over the next 4 years:
- Smart Cities (66 per cent CAGR)
- Agriculture (37 per cent CAGR)
- Smart Meters (34 per cent CAGR)
It found that smart city development will hugely benefit from LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) access technologies, forecasting that over 25 per cent of cellular smart city devices and applications will operate over these networks by 2022. The low cost per connection of LPWA networks and a battery life of 10 years will become appealing for monitoring city operations including transport and public energy infrastructure.
5G – The Smart City Opportunity
The research found that 5G technology will be essential in handling the increasing data traffic generated from smart city devices. It found that services such as traffic information and citizen gateways will generate over 160 Petabytes of data traffic per annum in 2022; in comparison, connected cars will generate over 7,000 Petabytes of data. In response to this increase in cellular traffic, the report suggested that transforming network architecture would become key to delivering the level of smart city services that have come to be expected.
Research author Sam Barker added: “Edge computing will provide the necessary network capabilities for the provision of services. Decentralising network functions by moving them to the edge will facilitate the ultra-low latency and faster processing power needed”.