Connected devices worth $1.2tn to mobile operators by 2020

Close collaboration in the mobile industry and other sectors is required to take advantage of the opportunities on offer, claims the GSMA.

mobile technology

The number of connected devices worldwide is expected to increase from approximately nine billion today to more than 24 billion in the next decade.

So claims research by mobile industry body the GSMA, which predicts that, of these connected devices, some 12 billion will be mobile - double the number of connected mobile devices around today.

This growth will increase revenue opportunities for mobile operators by a factor of seven to top $1.2 trillion by 2020, the GSMA claimed in the research, which was carried out in partnership with Machina Research with the backing of AT&T, Deutsche Bank, KT, Telenor Connexion and Vodafone.

The growth of connected devices has the potential to offer substantial social, ecological and financial benefits to the world economy.

"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 Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA.

"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. However, capitalising on this enormous opportunity requires 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."

Other sectors such as automotive, consumer electronics and health will also need to collaborate in order to make money out of the connected device explosion, the research claimed. Each industry has the potential to grow their revenue streams by billions or hundreds of billions of dollars if done right.

"The growth of connected devices has the potential to offer substantial social, ecological and financial benefits to the world economy. The figures announced today highlight the significant revenue opportunity this space could deliver. However the wider economic impact could be far greater, including indirect benefits to industry such as cost reduction, increased efficiency and the potential for new products and services," said Matthew Bloxham, director of telecoms research at Deutsche Bank.

"We are pleased that many mobile operators are already implementing strategies to tap into this market, although a broad industry-wide approach is essential to realising the full opportunity."

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