Wireless economy to hit $1.2 trillion

Using a mobileThe number of connected devices will reach more than 24 billion by 2020, creating a revenue opportunity of $1.2 trillion for mobile operators. That's the headline finding of a study carried out by mobile industry body the GSMA and Machina Research. The study predicts the number of mobile connected devices will double from today's figure to 12 billion by 2020. This will usher in a new phase for the mobile industry, according to the GSMA.
The GSMA has used the research to formulate a projection that the total number of connected devices – that's anything, mobile or static, which can hook up to the net – will grow from today's 9 billion to more than 24 billion within the next decade. That explosive growth will generate a sevenfold increase in revenue opportunities.

Connected life

"We are entering the next phase in the development of the mobile industry, one where we will see mobile connect everything in our lives," said GSMA chief marketing officer Michael O'Hara. "In this new Connected Life, mobile will transform society and will have a profound effect on the way we interact not only with each other, but also with our surroundings."

He says that "capitalising on this enormous opportunity" means there must be more "collaboration across the entire ecosystem to demonstrate how mobile technology in everything from tablet PCs to new healthcare devices can enhance people's personal and business lives."

The report picks out a number of examples of sectors that could benefit. It says;
  • The consumer electronics industry could generate $445bn in direct revenues by 2020
  • The automotive sector could generate revenue of $202bn
  • The health sector could see revenue growth of $69bn
  • The utilities sector could see revenue growth of $36bn.

The talk at the moment is of a growing 'internet of things' and of 'machine to machine' (M2M) connections. The devices we use on a daily basis, from fridges to cars as well as our phones and desktop computers, are becoming more connected and connectable, and with this growth comes the potential for far-reaching change.

Measurable data

The opportunities for selling are obvious, but there's more. With increasing use of devices and data that is trackable and measurable comes the opportunity to measure demand, adjust production and cut down on the waste of stock, for example.

Commercial interests are deeply involved in looking at how to capitalise on the changes in the way we will carry out everyday tasks. But how much research is going into what these changes really do to the way we will be living and what the effect of those changes of quality of life will be?

There is, of course, some overlap between the two approaches, but current research seems to weighted far more heavily towards commercial opportunity than life improvement. Perhaps that's inevitable. But is it something we should be thinking about?
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