Global Industry Report: Cellular M2M Inconsistencies Create Potential for Satellite

[Satellite TODAY Insider 06-21-12] Technology-driven declines in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) equipment costs will help expand the installed base of M2M devices, which in turn will increase the need for satellite M2M services during the next few years, according to a research report published June 20 by Global Industry Analysts.

   The report, titled “Satellite Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Services: A Global Strategic Business Report,” studies the growth of the relatively fledging M2M technology, which allows assets, devices, and machines to exchange data with management systems of a company or with people requiring information. North America, according to the report, represents the largest M2M market worldwide. The Asia-Pacific region, however, is predicted to emerge into the fastest growing regional market with a projected CAGR of 18.5 percent during the next few years.
   “Growth in the region will stem from the expansion of M2M applications into energy metering, asset tracking, digital signage, factory automation, and medical, among others,” the report said.
   While presence of millions and billions of machines provides massive untapped potential for M2M technologies, Global Industry Analysts adds that the market faces challenges manifested in the form of higher cost-per-byte of satellite communications than in comparison with cellular M2M communication.
   “Lack of awareness about the capabilities of satellite communications skews consumer preferences towards WiMAX, cellular, and Wi-Fi technology alternatives,” Global Industry researchers said the report. “Though M2M communications are primarily identified with cellular networks, the inability of cellular networks to offer coverage in all regions/locations increases the significance of satellite technology. For instance, terrestrial wireless networks currently cover only about 10 percent of the Earth’s surface, thus providing unimaginable potential for two-way satellite data links and satellite M2M.”
   The report also identified immense opportunities for technology in industries such as oil and gas, utilities, and transportation and distribution, in which a large number of assets are deployed in remote locations with inadequate cellular coverage.
   “Inconsistent cellular coverage in difficult terrains, such as, oceans, deserts, remote rural areas, offshore drilling sites, diamond mines, etc., provides a business case for satellite M2M, given that rugged mobile, mission-critical requirements requires superior and enhanced M2M connectivity,” the report said. “Also, as monitoring and managing connected devices begin to top the priority list of enterprises, the need for efficient transport of collected data will spur demand for continuous, reliable and uninterrupted data communications, irrespective of geographic location. Under this scenario, satellite M2M services are poised to emerge as the greatest beneficiary.”

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