Machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will be the fastest-growing category of connected devices, growing nearly 2.5- fold during the forecast period, at 20‑percent CAGR, to 12.2 billion connections by 2020, Cisco now predicts.
Machine-to-machine connections generally are considered a major subset within the broader Internet of Things category. Where M2M generally refers to machines communicating with machines, IoT includes a wider range of personal devices used by people, such as smartwatches, fitness monitors or perhaps medical monitors.
Global Devices and Connections Growth, source: Cisco
By 2020, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will be 46 percent of total connected devices and Internet access accounts, Cisco now forecasts.
That total includes devices such as smart meters, video surveillance, healthcare monitoring, transportation, and package or asset tracking.
Globally, M2M connections will grow nearly 2.5-fold, from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020.
For many, that is almost a secondary matter. The bigger question is which markets will grow fastest, and reach mass market status, soonest.
Connected home applications, such as home automation, home security and video surveillance, connected white goods, and tracking applications, will represent 47 percent, or nearly half, of the total M2M connections by 2020, Cisco predicts.
Connected healthcare, with applications such as health monitors, medicine dispensers, first-responder connectivity, and telemedicine, will be the fastest-growing industry segment, at 49-percent CAGR.
Connected car applications will have the second-fastest growth, at 37-percent CAGR.
Though many M2M applications will require connections of modest bandwidth, video will drive traffic volume, as is the case in the smartphone and consumer Internet spaces.
Although the number of connections is growing threefold, global M2M IP traffic will grow sixfold to 2020.
Video applications such as telemedicine and smart car navigation systems are prime examples.