Mobile phone applications were around for years before the iPhone, but Apple (News - Alert) revolutionized the apps market by making it easy for developers to build their own applications for mobile devices.
A similar situation is developing with the cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) application development space, according to ABI Research (News - Alert). Third-party providers are making it easier for companies to roll out cellular M2M applications – the applications that connect data between remote machines such as PDAs and the back-end infrastructure that serves them – with application enablement platforms (AEP) that provide core software processes used by most cellular M2M applications.
The cellular M2M market will increase from about 110 million cumulative connections globally in 2011 to roughly 453 million cumulative connections by 2017, according to predictions by ABI. But developing M2M apps is costly.
“This is a challenge both for mobile network operators (MNOs) that are trying to offer profitable services tailored to the M2M market, as well as for application developers and service providers that are trying to reduce costs, speed time to market, and simplify robust application deployments,” said ABI practice director Sam Lucero.
Creating rules and alerts, how to model an object in an application and how to provide security mechanisms are just some of the features that span the entire cellular M2M market, according to ABI. These are the processes that AEPs helps solve for developers.
The market for AEPs is huge. Although currently worth only about $169 million, the AEP market is forecast to grow to roughly $1.7 billion by 2017.
Around 30 companies are active in the space by ABI’s count. These include pure-play providers such as ThingWorx, ILS Technology and Axeda (News - Alert), M2M module and modem suppliers such as Digi International, Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless, and core network infrastructure providers such as NSN and NEC (News - Alert).
ABI notes that pure-play providers and those with a module/modem background are performing best in the growing AEP market.
“This is a benefit of their close focus on the M2M market and their nuanced understanding of the needs of M2M application providers,” ABI said. “However, there is clear opportunity for consolidation going forward.”
As the market matures, ABI predicts, large core network infrastructure and IT equipment vendors will acquire smaller players and consolidate what is currently a fragmented and relatively open market.
ABI Research tracks the AEP space with its Service Delivery Platforms, which provide research services that include competitive analysis, vendor matrices, market data and insights.
Want to learn more about M2M technologies? Then be sure to check out the M2M Evolution Conference, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. The M2M Evolution Conference is for industry professionals interested in capitalizing on a rapidly growing segment of the telecom industry. The M2M Evolution Conference embraces the any-to-any strategy of the Internet today. Co-sponsored by TMC (News - Alert) Partner Crossfire Media, it showcases the solutions, and examines the data strategies and technological requirements that enterprises and carriers need to capitalize on a market segment that is estimated to grow to $300 Billion in the year ahead. For more information on registering for the M2M Evolution Conference click here.
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Edited by Braden Becker