digital abstract

Home And Away: Digital Deluge Drives Networking’s Future

digital abstractThe massive growth of Big Data and analytics are major contributors to the fast-changing network environment, but several new studies highlight other drivers — both at home and away, and points in between — of tomorrow’s networks. The home and vehicle automation markets are also experiencing massive growth, and the mobile workforce shows no signs of slowing down.

There aren’t a lot of numbers available for the size and scope of the home automation market, but network service providers are ramping up quickly, according to the new study, 2014 Home Automation and Connected Home Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey:

  • 79% of operator respondents currently offer home automation services, or will do so by the end of 2014, with the remaining 21% planning to offer the services by the end of 2015;
  • home security and energy management services are seeing early popularity with customers and will be key to expanding to other services around the home; and,
  • WiFi is the primary technology for connecting devices in the home.

“For vendors of home automation equipment and software, service providers represent a high-growth market” noted Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research.

“Where home automation services were previously limited to the North American and European markets, service providers around the world — with access to tens of millions of broadband subscribers — are now testing the waters, driven by the desire to increase ARPU.”

The smart and/or connected vehicle is another area drawing increasing attention. Infonetics reported that connected car service providers are expected to reap $17 billion in 2018 as GM, BMW, Tesla ramp smart apps. The mobile M2M module market is also expected to nearly double to $2.9 billion by 2018, and M2M WAN connections set to triple by then.

From a mobility perspective, tablet sales were up 11% in the second quarter, reaching 49.3 million units, according to IDC. Although the market slowed down a bit from Q1, the research company predicted stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014, and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market.

Smartphones continued to experience strong growth, shooting up 23.1% year over year in the second quarter, establishing a new single quarter record of 295.3 million shipments. “A record second quarter proves that the smartphone market has plenty of opportunity and momentum,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

One result of this runaway growth in mobile devices is a substantial jump in mobile coupon users, which are expected to almost double from 560 million this year to 1.05 billion by 2019. This surge would in large part be driven by increased retailer engagement with the various mobile channels, with retailers now integrating coupons into loyalty programs to a far greater extent, while focusing on delivering coupons direct to consumers rather than relying on aggregator sites.

Paying bills via mobile and PC devices is also experiencing strong growth. Juniper Research reports that they will account for more than 20 billion household bill payments this year, representing approximately 16% of all global consumer household bills. This trend is being driven by a growing consumer acceptance of transactional digital banking, and the sharp rise in mobile banking adoption overall, and will continue to increase over the next five years as consumers, especially Generation Y users, opt for a multiple and immediate channel approach and use the mobile channel increasingly to manage their accounts.

This segment will also see further growth as wearables catch on, according to the report. Wearables have the capability of bringing contextual information together in a highly convenient and personal manner, as well as provide the potential for new ‘push’ opportunities for Financial Institutions.

The bottom line is that while B2B innovations like Big Data, analytics, cloud and mobility are transforming the workplace – and their underlying network infrastructures – B2C developments in the home, on the road, and everywhere in between are making their contributions felt too.

About the author
Steve Wexler
Steve is a proficient IT journalist, editor, publisher, and marketing communications professional. For the past two-plus decades, he has worked for the world’s leading high-technology publishers. Currently a contributor to Network Computing, Steve has served as editor and reporter for the Canadian affiliates of IDG and CMP, as well as Ziff Davis and UBM in the U.S. His strong knowledge of computers and networking technology complement his understanding of what’s important to the builders, sellers and buyers of IT products and services.