Cellular IoT: Is it All the Hype?

In the IoT realm, we commonly hear about these “20 billion devices in 2020”. But, is it accurate?

In the latter half of 2019, a careful count by Mobile Experts found evidence for only about 4 billion devices on December 31, 2019.  (Note: Mobile Experts does not count RFID devices, smartphones, or simple human-use devices such as keyfobs.)

So, while we know this market is growing and will continue to grow and transform, is there significant hype around it?

Mobile Experts released their first report of 2020, an in-depth, candid look at the Cellular IoT market.

“The market saw roughly 186 million Cellular IoT devices shipped in 2019, which is a 15% growth over 2018. There’s no doubt that the market is growing, but we advise caution with regard to how our customers invest in specific technologies and use cases,” remarked Chief Analyst Joe Madden. “The slow growth is not a technology problem. It comes from slow movement by major industrial players that only invest on 20-year cycles. In the near term, it’s critically important to choose the right vertical markets and applications for investments.”

Mobile Experts has also been analyzing Edge Computing in tandem with Cellular IoT, because the computing platforms for automation have become a key area of development. Simple, easy-to-use Edge Computing solutions will greatly accelerate the use of Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) and low-cost IoT applications.

“It would be a jarring shift to society, if we automated human jobs as quickly as we could with current Cellular IoT technology. Political and safety concerns have slowed the process. For example, we have the technology for a robot to stock grocery shelves, or for automated package delivery drones, but we haven’t immediately adopted the technologies due to reasonable safety concerns and human concerns about the workforce,” commented Chief Analyst Joe Madden.

The question now, according to Mobile Experts, is how Edge Computing and Cellular IoT will come together in a few key industries to create the easy-to-use platforms that everyone needs. Just as the Cloud Computing market emerged due to demand for simple data storage for large corporations, Mobile Experts has identified a few key applications that will lead the ease-of-use trend toward widespread Cellular IoT.

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