“We do not expect 5G to have a huge commercial impact in the business services market during 2020, but we should see many other developments, such as SD-WAN, and may also, finally, see real signs of traction for NB-IoT.”
In this article, we highlight what we will look out for in the area of IoT during 2020.
In the IoT market, we will look out for the following.
- Signs that LPWA is gaining traction. Traction for LPWA has been slow in most countries, hampered by problems of price, availability, awareness and interoperability. More products are finding their way to market. Operators will hope that problems relating to LPWA are finally resolved in 2020 and these new products take off.
- Signs that operators are preparing for future IoT use cases. In 2020, 5G will mean faster 4G. This will support some use cases, such as CCTV, but these are marginal in most countries. The real activity in 5G from operators will be preparing for future releases; to benefit from these, operators need to work closely with partners from different vertical sectors (such as manufacturing). Operators also need to show how existing technologies can help these markets. Enterprise awareness and indeed demand for private wireless networks is growing and could provide new revenue opportunities for operators.
- If an end to austerity will lead to more ambitious government-led IoT projects. A decade of austerity, particularly in Europe but also in the USA, came at a bad time for IoT. Funding for early stage projects using IoT was limited. China is a stark contrast. Government projects there have created a thriving IoT sector. China Mobile is reporting over 700 million IoT connections, while China Telecom and China Unicom have over 100 million each. (The next largest operator, Vodafone, has fewer than 100 million.) We will look for signs that governments elsewhere are doing more to support IoT.
- The continuing development of the connectivity market. New-entrant MVNOs are seeking to build on eUICC capabilities and control the relationship with the customer. This could relegate mobile operators to wholesale connectivity providers for IoT worldwide. We will watch for signs, such as big contracts, to see how this is evolving. We will also closely watch the development of the SIM on a chip, Arm’s iSIM, which will complicate things further.