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IoT connectivity management platforms flourish

Berg Insight research reveals huge potential growth in devices managed on commercial internet of things connectivity management platforms, predicting a rise from 770 million in 2018 to 3.15 billion by 2023

Research from Berg Insight has revealed the huge growth potential of internet of things (IoT) enabling technology, predicting that the number of devices managed on commercial IoT connectivity management platforms (CMPs) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.6%, rising from 770 million in 2018 to reach 3.15 billion by 2023 – about 63% of total installed base of cellular IoT devices.

Berg noted that the adoption of third-party connectivity management platforms – which facilitate the delivery of IoT connectivity services and offer self-service connectivity management – has increased notably in recent years, even though many mobile operators still use bespoke or in-house-developed solutions to serve all or parts of their IoT operations.

The analyst regards the ability to aggregate multiple networks on their platforms and thus provide superior area coverage, multi-domestic footprints and multi-technology connectivity as a key differentiator for IoT managed service providers. Berg estimates that IoT managed service providers comprise a third category of players that typically provide complete IoT connectivity management platforms next to connectivity.

As one would expect, the research pinpointed Huawei as the leading IoT CMP supplier, boosted by its close ties to domestic mobile operators China Mobile and China Telecom, managing more than 600 million IoT SIMs in mid-2019. Whale Cloud was in second place, managing 106 million IoT SIMs. Cisco was the largest commercial IoT CMP supplier outside of China, with 130 million connections, followed by Vodafone – the only mobile network operator that licenses its platform to third-party service providers – and Ericsson.

Aeris and Kore consolidated their positions as leading players in North America, with 14 million and 11 million connections respectively, while in Europe, Wireless Logic had close to four million IoT subscribers, expanding its regional presence through a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth. Cubic Telecom, Sierra Wireless, Arm, BICS and Transatel all had around two to three million IoT subscribers each.

“IoT managed service providers play a key role in the ecosystem in western markets, where they account for around 10-15% of IoT subscribers,” noted Berg senior analyst Fredrik Stalbrand, commenting on the research.

“The variety of players in the IoT CMP market reflects the growing diversity of IoT connectivity offerings available. Enterprises will need to re-evaluate their connectivity needs and make more refined decisions about service delivery, carrier switching capabilities, coverage, security and pricing as their IoT projects evolve to the next level.”

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