Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Operators must move beyond connectivity to increase IoT revenue, warns GSMA

Steve Rogerson
June 5, 2018



Operators must look beyond connectivity to increase share of IoT revenue, warns the GSMA, which estimates that the global IoT market will be worth $1.1tn in revenue by 2025 as market value shifts from connectivity to platforms, applications and services.
 
By that point, there will be more than 25 billion IoT cellular and non-cellular connections, driven largely by growth in the industrial IoT market. The Asia Pacific region is forecast to become the largest global IoT region in terms of both connections and revenue.
 
“As the number of connected consumer devices and industrial machines grow rapidly, the IoT ecosystem will evolve to become a trillion-dollar market over the course of the next decade,” said Sylwia Kechiche, principal analyst at GSMA Intelligence. “But the IoT revenue opportunity is shifting away from simply connecting devices to addressing specific sectors with tailored solutions, and successful ecosystem players will need to adapt their business models in line with these market trends.”
 
Although connectivity revenue will grow over the period, it will only account for five per cent of total IoT revenue by 2025, underscoring the need for operators to expand their capabilities beyond connectivity to capture a greater share of market value. This is a challenge already being addressed by a number of operators, which are creating dedicated IoT business units and service lines.
 
Meanwhile, the platforms, applications and services segment will continue to increase as a share of overall IoT revenue, capturing two-thirds of the total by 2025. This category spans multiple IoT layers such as platforms, application services, cloud; data analytics and security.
 
IoT professional services – which include system integration, managed services and consulting – will account for the remaining 27 per cent share of total IoT revenue by 2025.
 
GSMA Intelligence forecasts that the total number of IoT connections globally will reach 25.2 billion in 2025, up from 6.3 billion in 2016. The industrial segment, which refers to IoT deployed within enterprises or vertical-specific applications, will account for more than half of the connections total by that point (13.8 billion), while the number of IoT connections in the consumer segment will reach 11.4 billion, driven by developments in the smart home market.
 
“It’s well understood that connectivity will represent only a fraction of the total IoT opportunity,” said Peter Jarich, head of GSMA Intelligence. “Complementing our IoT connections data with this major new dataset and analysis on IoT revenue provides a comprehensive and realistic view on where market opportunities exist for operators, vendors, integrators and everyone else playing in the IoT ecosystem.”