Networkers Looking For M2M’s Deus Ex Machina

TerminatorI was recently in Dallas for Teradata’s annual customer conference, where the theme was Unleashing The Power Of Data, and one of the topics of discussion was machine-to-machine data. The attendees were primarily big companies and governments used to dealing with Big Data, but everybody not hiding under a rock for the last two years knows that there is a data deluge underway, and M2M is going to be a major component of the Big Data avalanche that is quickly overloading networks.

How big a component? Glad you asked, because Infonetics (among others) is happy to give you the latest forecast. By 2017 M2M connections will top 4 billion (up from almost 1.4 billion in 2012) and M2M services will hit $31 billion.

“M2M is one of the fastest-growing major new segments for service providers,” stated analyst Godfrey Chua, who directs Infonetics Research’s M2M and Connected World program. “We forecast global revenue from M2M services to more than double between 2012 and 2017, from just under $15 billion to $31 billion.”

Another recent survey from MarketsandMarkets reported that the Internet of Things (IoT) & Machine-To-Machine (M2M) communications market is expected to reach $290.0 billion by 2017 at a CAGR of 30.1% from 2012 to 2017. From a networking perspective, they recommend ‘that the architectural design for the IoT supports efficient two-way caching and data synchronization techniques, as well as network-connected endpoints for virtual representations for the connected devices and things/objects that can be used for monitoring their location, state and condition, as well as sending requirements and directions to them.’

Sounds impressive, but those are some of the smallest numbers I’ve seen for the coming of the machines (with apologies to Arnold). Gartner recently stated that the number of connected devices will grow from 2.5 billion in 2009 to 30 billion devices, most of which will be products. At the start of October IDC predicted that the Internet of Things installed base will be approximately 212 billion things by the end of 2020, including 30.1 billion connected (autonomous) things.

Billions of things, and trillions of dollars. IDC said the IoT will generate revenues of $8.9 trillion by 2020 on components, processes, and supporting IT and connectivity, up from $4.8 trillion in 2012.

At the same time Infonetics was making its predictions, IHS was forecasting that the number of cellular M2M connections will more than triple by the end of 2017, shooting up from last year’s 116 million to 375 million.

The bottom line is that the machines are coming and The Terminator won’t be coming back from the future to save us.

Image credit: Yortw (flickr) – CC-BY-2.0