IoT to be worth $1.8 trillion – GSMA/Machina

The GSMA has reached into its nether-regions and plucked out $1.8 trillion. That’s how much the blossoming IoT world will be worth to operators one day, it reckons.

By 2026, operators will be rolling in it thanks to the early deployment of commercial Low Power Wide Area Networks in licensed spectrum, and other developments in the connected economy. The research has actually been conducted by Machina Research, but the GSMA seems to be claiming the credit here.

“There is a real sense of momentum behind Mobile IoT networks in licensed spectrum, with multiple commercial launches around the world, as well as the availability of hundreds of different applications and solutions, but there is still much to be done,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO at the GSMA.

“Many operators are already reaping the benefits of deploying Mobile IoT and we encourage others to act now to capitalise on this clear market opportunity and further accelerate the development of the Internet of Things.”

The big win here will be in the US consumer segments. The connected home is estimated to be worth $441 billion, consumer electronics $376 billion and connected car technologies $273 billion. That said, less sexy areas such as smart energy initiatives could bring in as much as $128 billion, while smart cities are forecast to be $78 billion.

While we do not doubt the IoT world will bring in fortunes, the question is whether the operators are in a good position to capitalize on all of the revenues which are associated with the segment. For some, the operators could be considering the connectivity partner in these initiatives. This is a crucial part of the area, it couldn’t exist without connectivity, but a lot of the revenues will be generated elsewhere.

The real question which remains as the telco world hurtles towards IoT is can the operators become more than a dumb pipe, facility the growth of the digital economy, and merely becoming a spectator to the fortunes being found as organizations find better ways to monetize customers.

Can the operators be more than a utility? Better ask Machina.

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