Ericsson: IoT connections will surpass mobile in 2018
Western Europe will see the most growth in IoT connections, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report
“The ‘internet of things’ is expected to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018,” according to Rima Qureshi, publisher of the Ericsson Mobility Report.
Qureshi, Ericsson’s CSO and an SVP, goes on in her introductory note: “Between 2015 and 2021, IoT is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 23%, making up close to 16 billion of the total forecast 28 billion connected devices in 2021.”
The research report distinguishes between two types of IoT connections, massive and critical.
Massive IoT connections are marked by high connection volume, low cost, low energy consumption requirements and small data traffic volumes. Applications include smart buildings, transportation logistics, fleet management, smart metering and agriculture.
Critical IoT connections, with use cases like traffic safety, autonomous cars, industrial applications, health care and remote manufacturing, are characterized by ultra reliability and very low latency.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report authors, 70% of existing IoT modules are GSM-only while just 5% are equipped with LTE connectivity. Specific to IoT modules with LTE capabilities, the report projects there will be 1.5 billion in use by 2021, up from 400 million at the end of 2015.
This significant growth “is due to increased industry focus and 3GPP standardization of cellular IoT technologies,” the report says. “Cellular connections benefit from enhancements in provisioning, device management, service enablement and security.
“Cost reductions will make LTE-connected devices increasingly viable, enabling new, very low latency applications. This will be achieved by reducing complexity and limiting modems to IoT application capabilities. Evolved functionality in existing LTE networks as well as 5G capabilities, is expected to extend the range of addressable applications for critical IoT deployments.”
A regional outlook predicts Western Europe will add the most IoT connections in the near-term with connected cars leading the adoption growth.