By Ben Simmons

A study has estimated that the world’s businesses will benefit by a staggering US$4.5 trillion from mobile connected devices by 2020.

The GSMA, in partnership with Machina Research announced the study into the market potential of the Connected Life in 2020 to coincide with the 2012 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

The research explores how the Connected Life will open up new revenue streams, facilitate new business models, drive efficiencies and improve the way existing services are delivered to create a global business impact worth as much as US$4.5 trillion.

“Today the connected devices market is dominated by mobile phones, but this will change in the future as a new wave of smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics and M2M devices connect everything from cars to health services and even entire cities,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The Connected Life will have a positive impact on many industries; however capitalising on this enormous opportunity requires cross-sector collaboration to fully realise the power of mobile for the benefit of billions of people globally.”

The global business impact of the Connected Life can be split into two broad categories: ‘revenues’ and ‘cost reduction and service improvements’3. In 2020, revenues from the sale of connected devices and services, and revenues from related services, such as pay-as-you-drive car insurance, will be worth US$2.5 trillion, US$1.2 trillion of which could be addressed by mobile operators and the remainder by the broader Connected Life ecosystem.

Cost reductions and service improvements relate to less direct, but tangible, benefits to organisations, governments and consumers through the evolution of the Connected Life. In 2020, this could be worth approximately US$2 trillion: US$1 trillion from cost reductions, such as smart meters removing the need for manual meter readings; and US$1 trillion from service improvements, such as clinical remote monitoring for patients with chronic illnesses.

For instance, in 2020, the global healthcare space alone could recognise US$660 billion in cost savings and improved services from the deployment of mHealth solutions, helping to reduce the cost of universal healthcare. Connecting cars will also help the global automotive industry to profit from the Connected Life, with its ecosystem set to generate US$624 billion in revenues and reap US$727 billion in cost reductions and service improvements.

Matt Hatton, Director, Machina Research, said: “By 2020, there is no doubt we will live in a much more connected world, which will have a fundamental impact on the way we live and work. This impact will not only open up new revenue opportunities for operators, but it will also facilitate a host of new business models, improve the way that companies do business and improve efficiencies in innumerable ways. Our estimate of the value of this is US$4.5 trillion, but the impact on and benefit to society is immeasurable.”

The Top Connected Application in 2020: The Connected Car

By 2020, mobile connectivity in cars will increasingly become a must-have as demand grows for services such as stolen vehicle recovery, insurance telematics and entertainment. This will be driven by manufacturers seeking to differentiate their offering and build new revenue streams, as well as the growth of plug-in electric vehicles, which will demand connectivity. Machina Research anticipates that 90 per cent of new cars in 2020 will have some form of in-vehicle connectivity, adding US$600 billion to value of the Connected Life.

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