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IoT connectivity management market to be worth more than $31bn by 2026

OEMs, enterprises and municipalities set to lead the charge in spend on devices allowing connectivity to be intelligently packaged for sale to IoT customers

With 4G/LTE connectivity almost ubiquitous in major global territories, 5G fast being rolled out to allow deeper and richer experiences, and satellite now a viability in the sector, the internet of things (IoT) arena is currently hot, and the extra demand for services is fuelling a booming market for connectivity management platforms (CMPs), according to a report from global technology intelligence firm ABI Research.

A long-standing feature of the IoT, CMPs allow connectivity to be intelligently packaged for sale to IoT customers. ABI noted that CMP development has not abated, and the market is only becoming more competitive.

ABI’s Connectivity management platforms and managed connectivity for the IoT application analysis report identified 62 companies offering CMPs, operated either proprietarily or commercially available to license. These companies span from connectivity resellers and aggregators to enterprise software developers, IoT service providers and carrier grade infrastructure manufacturers.

“The largest CMP vendors such as Cisco and Ericsson, and their products, have always acted as gateways for third-party partnerships to jointly sell through to the same IoT enterprise customers,” said Jamie Moss, research director for M2M, IoT and IoE. “IoT platforms are famously modular, with enterprises and service providers piecing together what they need from a variety of suppliers.

“Today, the CMP is also a nodal product for turnkey IoT system providers, acting as a gateway product to promote the sale of value-added components of their portfolio, and ideally the full stack. From an enterprise customer perspective, CMPs are not typically charged for, but device management, security management and data orchestration platforms are, with CMPs acting as a “single pane of glass” interface over them all.”

ABI Research calculated that at the end of 2021, the global market for the sale of data transport, and the management of that connectivity, to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), enterprises and municipalities was $12.14bn. It predicted the annual total will more than double to $31.77bn in 2026.

“The demand-side revenue that the enterprise purchasers of these services will realise in their return on investment – be it for downstream connected services and products sold or internal operational processes optimised – will be far greater still,” said Moss.

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In terms of how the industry is evolving, ABI also highlighted that companies across the IoT ecosystem are seeking to overcome the inevitable commoditisation of their niche area of specialisation. The analyst said that ascending the value chain inevitably involves becoming a connectivity supplier; moreover that connectivity was “literally the glue” that brings together all supply-side elements of the IoT and the physical medium through which all IoT value is delivered, and all enterprise results were achieved.

ABI advised that the way to expand within the IoT was to partner or acquire, and many companies have spent the past few years purchasing complementary specialists. And for their customers, the CMP is the face of the service propositions that they build.

The analysis cautioned that the most famous carrier-grade CMP suppliers plateaued in terms of unique contract awards years ago, noting 80% of Cisco’s licenses came before the end of 2015, and more than 80% of Ericsson’s came before the end of 2018.

“For Ericsson and Cisco, operator partner investments are now paying off as both firms have experienced huge growth in the number of IoT connections their platforms manage over the last several years,” said Moss.

“But beyond the largest suppliers, it is innovation in service offerings from newer entrants including FloLive and 1nce, that simplify the onboarding and payment processes, and the federated provision of global connectivity – that is boosting the market and will help to carry it forward over the next five years.”

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