A new report from Kaleido Intelligence, a leading connectivity market intelligence and consulting firm, has found that smart manufacturing will generate almost $5 billion in cellular connectivity revenue by 2028, a CAGR of 36.7% from an expected $772 million in 2023.
This wealth of data is generated from an increasing level of automation in maintenance, alongside a significant expansion of real-time video-based use cases, which will push monthly ARPU over $3.00 in many places from 2024, thanks to high levels of data transmission.
Mixed Connectivity Networks the Future for Manufacturing
The new research, Cellular IoT Connectivity Series: Manufacturing Industry Opportunities & Forecasts, has found that the manufacturing industry will transmit nearly 220 petabytes of data over cellular channels by 2028, due to this increased video-based automation. However, the majority of data generated will remain local due to the integration of edge computing, reducing the cost of cellular connectivity for end users.
The research also anticipates many deployments leveraging LPWAN technologies alongside data-intensive ones, and indeed several use cases being better served by non-cellular data entirely. The report notes that being able to offer both cellular and non-cellular connectivity to customers is rapidly becoming a key component of industrial IoT offerings.
Private Networks Bring Reliability but also Complexity
These increasingly complex network architectures will be supported through the use of private cellular networks in many cases, with technologies like DAS struggling to compete with dedicated networks in terms of reliability, security and latency in the years ahead. Kaleido notes that many such deployments are also focused on 5G even where the full features of the latest cellular standard are not utilised, both as a future-proofing method and to allow ease of management for service providers.
However, the increasing network complexity will restrict connectivity to businesses that can afford to deploy and manage the networks, with only 8% of manufacturing establishments worldwide adopting cellular connectivity by 2028. This is because the technologies require dedicated management, and as such will remain out of the reach of most small- and medium-sized enterprises for the foreseeable future.
Research author James Moar remarked:
“Cellular connectivity can bring many benefits to manufacturers, by providing a reliable platform for predictive maintenance and elements of production automation. However, both the complexity of the systems and upfront costs of managed services will make more budget-constrained businesses think twice about adopting the technology, particularly in the current economic climate. This will keep connectivity use confined mostly to larger businesses that have the ability to make costly technology investments.”