Well the holidays are just behind us and that can mean only one thing: It’s prediction season, the time of year when pundits from industries far and wide offer their takes on the year passed and speculations on what next year may bring for their respective markets.
Never to be left behind, KORE entirely embraces this tradition. But, before we reveal our thoughts on the year ahead we thought it would fun to test our mettle, to see how our recent prognostications have held up over time.
For this exercise we’ll focus on the past three years – comparing what we said would happen in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to what actually occurred in each of those years, and giving ourselves an honest grade based on the verity of our predictions.
What we said: “Carriers will begin to define M2M as a true growth market. We will see a continuing trend toward discrete, purpose-built devices for new applications in payment processing, health and wellness management, personal tracking and exception-based industrial monitoring. Wireless executives will also come to grips with market size believability. Impracticable views that connected machines could easily outnumber connected humans by 50 to 1 only lead to disappointment.
“The real action-area for 2011, however, will be business models, both to reconcile carrier desires for an all-3G world with the commercial advantages of 2G M2M solutions, as well as to close the loop on solid value models – particularly in important segments such as healthcare and environmental controls.”
What really happened: M2M was certainly given more lip service as a growth market, but it came largely in the form of new apps for Smartphones to drive higher-ARPUs from those singular devices. During the course of the year there was some recognition that initial projections for 50 billion devices may have been outgrown, but it would take more time for these numbers to be reined in by the educated market. Even today, some firms still hold onto outlandish numbers.
We also saw the 2G/3G dilemma start to surface in 2011, but it certainly was not, and still is not, entirely resolved.
What we said: “No more one-size-fits-all for M2M. Rather, stakeholders will begin to realize the importance of global, borderless connectivity for application success. Three pillars of global service will emerge: a high-reliability, “pole-to-pole” network infrastructure; tariff plans that account for global device distribution as well as the ebb-and-flow of device usage; and network management platforms for simplified device provisioning and visibility.
“We will also see some clarity emerge as to the long-term utility of 2G technology, particularly as a means to serve the machines.”
What really happened: Judging by the growth vector experienced by KORE GlobalConnect in 2012, we would say indeed there was recognition among the user base that native, affordable coverage across borders had become a growing concern.
And yes, there was some clarity as to the role of 2G going forward. Namely, that it would not go forward – at least not in the United States. This will have to be addressed more fully in 2014 and KORE is taking a leadership role in helping customers make the transition smoothly and profitably.
Grade: B+ (docked for holding onto possibility of long-term 2G, despite its clear utility for simple, short lifecycle M2M apps).
What we said: “M2M hype meets reality in telehealth and payment processing. The needle will move rapidly in these two segments as healthcare stakeholders now understand that connected devices can improve economics of treatment of non-emergent conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes, blood pressure, heart function and other vital signs. And, payment processing both in mobile wallet and in fixed device areas has reached critical acceptance to integrate cellular processing ubiquitously: in restaurants, among residential service personnel, in taxis and parking meters--even wireless cash registers.
“Finally, the term ‘Internet of things’ will begin die away – M2M is not a peer-to-peer service (yet!) and the analogy is not a good one. Smart applications providers and enterprises will cut through the confused messages on technology and focus on delivering 3G-based solutions for longevity.”
What really happened: The good: Telehealth indeed entered an explosive growth phase this year, both in the domestic home healthcare market and to drive health delivery in Third World regions. On the payment processing front, more than 10 of the top cities in America have implemented some sort of connected parking system to both automate cashless payment and help drivers find parking faster. Our own Matt Davis broke this market down a few weeks ago in these pages.
The bad: Internet of things remains a strong catch phrase, and the metaphor was even taken to new heights in 2013 by several companies attempting to put their own branding stamp on it. We still believe, however, there’s a long way to go before M2M-enabled devices actually resemble a peer-to-peer Internet.
Grade: A for part one; C for part two.
Stay tuned for our revelation of 2014 predictions!
by Alex Brisbourne, President and COO
As the president and chief operating officer of KORE, Alex has over 20 years of experience in the networking and telecommunications industry, in Europe, North America and Asia. His expertise and areas of concentration center around wireless, enterprise and fixed line services. In his current role at KORE, he continually strives to improve company growth, by ensuring the M2M marketplace and KORE customers are well served by members of the KORE team worldwide.