A new research report from the analysis firm Berg Insight forecasts that at least 25 million machines will be connected to mobile networks in Europe by 2009. Currently Berg Insight estimates the number of wireless M2M connections on the continent to 5 million. “We know that growth in the number of mobile phones is coming to an end in the developed world. There is however now clear evidence that other devices will assume the leading role in market developments. As people migrate to the new 3G networks in growing numbers, the old reliable GSM-networks will increasingly become the domains of our machines”, comments Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
Utility meters and vehicles are identified as the segments with the far greatest potential. “Right now we have several projects where up to 500,000 electricity meters will be connected to mobile networks for automated meter reading and that is just the beginning”, says Tobias. “It is the same in the vehicle sector. Half a million trucks are now monitored with GSM/GPS as part of Germany’s Toll Collect system and over one hundred thousand motorists in Italy have signed up for pay-as-you-drive insurance schemes.” Tobias believes GSM/GPS tracking technology will soon become widely used for mileage-based motor vehicle taxation and speed limit enforcement, as well as voluntary reporting of driving behaviour to insurance companies.
The report also identifies several other growth areas for wireless M2M in the security and retail sectors. Mobile communication technology is today commonly used in alarm systems, payment terminals, parking machines and various industrial remote monitoring systems.