Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications is growing fast, with the number of cellular M2M connections in the retail industry passing the 10 million mark – hitting 10.3 million – in 2011.
That's one finding in a new research report from Berg Insight, which predicts that the number of retail cellular M2M connections will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.6 percent globally during the next six years to reach 33.2 million connections in 2017. Shipments of cellular M2M devices for retail applications will at the same time increase at a CAGR of 10.7 percent from 5.2 million units in 2011 to 9.6 million units in 2017, Berg said.
Cellular M2M technology enables devices such as point-of-sale (POS) terminals, ATMs and ticketing machines to be used at new locations where fixed-line connectivity is unavailable or impractical. The technology has a more transformational effect on markets such as vending and parking, where machine operators need to reorganize their operations in order to benefit from the availability of real-time information.
“POS terminals will constitute the lion’s share of cellular M2M connections in the retail sector throughout the forecast period," Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst, Berg Insight. “But the penetration rate for cellular connectivity is today actually highest in the multi-space parking meter segment where it is well above 30 percent."
Berg Insight expects that the vending-machine segment will present a major opportunity for wireless connectivity in the long term and the study indicates that vending telemetry solutions will be the fastest growing segment during the next six years. In Europe, the installed base of vending telemetry devices is projected to grow from 75,000 units in 2011 to 324,000 units in 2017. Similarly, the installed base in North America is projected to increase from 250,000 units in 2011 to 1 million by 2017.