The GSMA and Machina Research are forecasting a six-fold increase of connected devices in China — currently worth US$116-billion to US$707-billion by 2020, bringing forth what they are terming “the Connected Life”. Connected devices include smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics and devices that have machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity.
No, it’s not Skynet taking over the world, it just means your car can communicate with your house and let your family know your ETA. Or that it can locate the nearest charging station and inform you to juice up or face a long walk home.
This future may not be so far-fetched, because connected devices are driving innovation and advancement in crucial industries across Asia-Pacific. China is growing in huge spurts economically, and is leading all other countries in the connected devices segment. Michael O’Hara, GSMA Chief Marketing Officer, explains:
China is not only the world’s largest mobile market — with more than one billion total mobile connections, but is using this to its advantage by creating new applications, products and services that can improve people’s daily lives and advance its economy. China has positioned mobile technology at the centre of its expansion, from a booming car industry to the rapid development of new ‘smart’ cities, creating efficiencies and consumer benefits through cross-industry collaboration.
The $707 billion business impact of the Connected Life in China in 2020 will come from $393 billion in revenues and US$314-billion in ‘cost reduction and service improvements’ like smart parking meters. Connected vehicles will spark new business models in China. Tracking cars and implementing real-time charging will generate new businesses in rentals and vehicle purchases. Connectivity will soon be a standard feature like seat belts and airbags, because the demand for plug-in electric vehicles continues to grow. Machina Research sees these two areas (vehicle tracking and real-time charging) making US$198 billion for China’s automotive industry by 2020.
And as for other countries in Asia? Japan will spend up to US$344 billion for Connected Life devices by 2020. Its automotive and building security industries comprise a large chunk of its connected businesses, but the assisted living segment will see a significant boost. Its ageing population will benefit from interconnected devices that monitor homes, track people and oversee medications. This industry will earn up to US$63 billion by 2020.
While India shares China’s requirements for connecting its vehicles and intelligent buildings — forecast to grow by $128-billion in 2020 — the costs of implementing M2M technology compared to wages in India means humans will still be used in place of connected devices by 2020.