A mobile data explosion is transforming the future for people in developed and developing countries, and is set to revolutionise our lives over the next five years, according to a new GSMA report titled ‘Connected Life: The impact of the connected life in the next five years’. The report, developed in conjunction with PwC, stated that as we move towards a fully connected world, mobile data revenues will overtake voice revenues globally by 2018.

This growth is attributed to a global surge in demand for connected devices and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications.

In developed countries:

  • mHealth could save $400 billion in healthcare costs in 2017.
  • In OECD countries, connected cars could help save 35,000, or one in nine, lives by 2017 by providing quicker and more accurate emergency location and response times.
  • With the use of mobile handsets, e-readers and tablets to enable flexible learning, mEducation can reduce student drop-outs by eight per cent, or 1.8 million children.
  • Smart metering can cut carbon emissions by 27 million tonnes – the equivalent of planting 1.2 billion trees.

Global utility smart grid spending almost doubled last year with spending by utilities transitioning their networks to smart grid capabilities reaching $23.68 billion in 2012 (ABI Research, 2013). According to a report released by Pike Research this year, the market for smart grid technologies will grow from $33 billion annually in 2012 to $73 billion by the end of 2020, reaching $494 billion in cumulative revenue over that period.

In developing countries:

  • mHealth is expected to help save one million lives in sub-Saharan Africa between now and 2017 with a greater use of mobile connectivity aiding the fight against malaria, TB, HIV and perinatal conditions.
  • mAutomotive will improve food transport and storage, which could help feed more than 40 million people annually – equivalent to entire the population of Kenya. According to the GSMA report, a staggering 240 million tonnes of food spoils during transit and in storage every year in developing countries. The use of mobile connectivity to track trucks, optimise fleet performance and monitor the temperature of storage facilities will help to alleviate this problem.
  • mEducation can enable 180 million students to further their education over the next five years.
  • Intelligent transport systems could reduce commute times by 35 per cent, giving commuters back a whole week each year. According to ABI Research, global telematics subscriptions for the bus and coach segment are expected to grow at a CAGR rate of 23% from 0.22 million in 2013 to 0.61 million in 2018.

In its September 2012 report, Market and Markets projected the Internet of Things (IoT) & M2M communication to be the fastest growing technology segments of the Information Technology (IT) sector over the next 3 to 5 years. The IoT and M2M market in 2011 was worth $44 billion, and is expected to grow $290 billion by 2017 with an expected CAGR increase of 30.1% from 2012 to 2017. According to the latest Machina Research M2M Global forecast and analysis 2011-2022 report, M2M connections will grow from two billion in 2011 to 18 billion in 2022, of which 2.6 billion will be wireless wide area network connections.

As the only developer of open non-proprietary platform M2M devices with embedded Linux OS and SDK functionality, NetComm Wireless is making wireless M2M communications easily accessible to businesses of all sizes by giving developers the freedom to create customised M2M applications.