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Predictions for the IoT

Investments in NB-IoT, LTE-M and new capabilities will prepare operators for an active 2018.
By Tom Rebbeck, Michele Mackenzie and Ahmed Ali

Global Connectivity
• IoT MVNOs will continue to surprise.
In 2017, some relatively small IoT MVNOs won notable contracts with large automobile manufacturers to provide in-car connectivity (for example, Globetouch's contract with GM, Truphone's with Kia, and the continuing relationship between Cubic and Audi). We expect more of these types of contracts to be awarded in 2018, and for this trend to increasingly become a concern for larger MNOs. M&A deals are possible, either between smaller MVNOs or with MNOs buying up their smaller rivals; with more than 20 firms offering global IoT connectivity, the market is ripe for consolidation.

Asia–Pacific
• Operators in emerging the Asia-Pacific region will accelerate their IoT businesses.
China is at the forefront of IoT developments, but many operators in emerging Asian markets have been slow to develop their IoT propositions. This is set to change; regional operators are investing in building IoT connectivity and data-management platforms, primarily through vendor partnerships. Regulatory developments in automotive and electric vehicles, as well as in government-led smart-city and smart-energy initiatives, will start to yield tangible opportunities. We expect the total number of IoT connections in the region to grow by 24 percent in 2018.

Data Protection
• The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will create opportunities for operators.
Companies operating in Europe need to be GDPR-compliant by May 2018. GDPR will present opportunities for operators to help enterprise customers, especially SMEs, to ensure that all devices—including IoT devices—comply with the regulation. Connectivity and device-management platforms will continue to play an important role in helping clients achieve compliance. Operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone, with cyber-security business units and a good understanding of the issues, will be well placed to advise enterprises on complying with GDPR for IoT initiatives.

Tom Rebbeck Analysys Mason's research director for enterprise and the Internet of Things, leads the company's enterprise and IoT research practice drawing on more than 16 years of experience in the telecoms sector. He is based in London and works for clients worldwide. Tom is a specialist on the IoT and other enterprise services and has written widely on the role for operators as telecoms markets develop. As well as published research, he has worked on projects for a range of clients, including operators, regulators, industry bodies and vendors. Many of these projects have been supported by original research, such as expert interviews and customer surveys.

Michele Mackenzie, Analysys Mason's principal analyst for research, is an analyst for the firm's IoT and M2M Services research program, with responsibility for M2M and LPWA forecasts. She has 17 years of experience as an analyst. Michele produces reports and forecasts on M2M and IoT in industry sectors, such as transport, health care and smart cities, and analyses the impact of IoT network technologies such as LPWA networks.

Ahmed Ali, Analysys Mason's senior analyst for research, is the lead analyst for the company's IoT Platforms and Technology research program. His research covers IoT software, applications and solutions used by service providers to enable their IoT offerings. Ahmed holds a master's degree in electronics communications and computer engineering from the University of Nottingham and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Khartoum, in Sudan.

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