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Volume, complexity, security to drive IoT device management sales to $36bn by 2026

Global revenues from IoT device management services will top $36.8 billion by 2026, according to ABI Research. The forecast represents a compound annual jump (CAGR) of 17.1 percent, from around $16.7 billion at the end of 2021. It said spiralling interest in IoT device management services is down to growth in edge-based analytics (AI) and connectivity (IoT), as well as to challenges with the complexity, scalability, and security of enterprise IoT estates.

Notably, it said “forward-looking suppliers are also preparing for a world where 41.3 percent of the connected devices will be using some form of low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies by 2026”, indicating the projected surge in cellular-based NB-IoT and LTE-M connections, and the continued inroads into enterprise IoT by the non-cellular LPWA brigade, including LoRa/LoRaWAN, plus Sigfox (if it survives), and MIOTY.

Standardisation of over-the-top IoT connectivity at the application layer, exemplified by adoption of the CoAP-derived Lightweight Machine-to-Machine (LwM2M) protocol by the wider IoT community – first by mobile operators, and subsequently by module, chipset, and gateway suppliers; in preference to TCP-based application protocols such as Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) – has helped the IoT market to stabilise, and IoT users to sidestep the issue of ‘vendor lock-in’.

ABI Research, with a new research publication to promote, said the effect has been to drive down the costs of IoT services – and notably of cellular IoT, which has closed the gap with non-cellular, and sparked a late rush on NB-IoT and LTE-M. At the same time, this commoditization has invariably stemmed differentiation at hardware level. Instead, it suggested, device management software and services represent a new point of difference for vendors.

This is the case for all types of device management vendors, it said, listing them in groups as large hyper-scalers (such as AWS and Microsoft), incumbent players (Eurotech, Telit, Sierra Wireless, for example), network operators MNOs (Vodafone, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom), and IoT startups (EdgeIQ, Memfault, 1NCE). Essentially, every player in the IoT game is offering device management, and they are “all looking to disrupt the IoT device management ecosystem”, said ABI Research.

This differentiation, and this future growth, is coming through the addition of new IoT management capabilities. Abdullah Haider, IoT network and services research analyst at ABI Research, said: “More and more suppliers are adding device management services to differentiate their IoT solution suite and capture more IoT solution revenues… This entails security services like device attestation and mutual authentication… [or] remote hardware configurability in application segments like asset tracking, telematics, and condition-based monitoring.”

These vendor groups are also collaborating, to integrate their services into rival offers in the broader IoT ecosystem. Notably, system integrators (SIs), offering to build end-to-end solutions, are a major draw. In general, cloud hyperscalers and mobile operators are seeking partnerships to sell, respectively, with their compute systems and connectivity solutions. “Partnerships and collaborations between device management vendors will continue to accelerate,” said Haider.

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