The IoT market is moving into a new phase. The hype is beginning to die down, although the intersections between IoT and 5G, and between IoT and artificial intelligence, still offer pockets of exuberance. We are now moving to active commercialization. Use cases in many industry verticals have been proven to deliver value. Growth figures for IoT connections and devices continue to accelerate. The range of enabling technologies is growing, and clear winners are emerging. Below we discuss the most important trends that successful IoT market players need to watch in 2019.
2019 will be the year LPWAN takes off, but 5G is further out
Roll-outs of licensed spectrum 3GPP LPWAN technologies NB-IoT and LTE-M have been slower than expected, but coverage is now established in and around major cities, and nationally in some markets –notably China and the US. Ecosystem development is still lagging, but is starting to pick up, particularly for NB-IoT; device availability is improving and module costs are declining. NB-IoT adoption will gain pace and LTE-M networks will finally go live in significant numbers in 2019.
Unlicensed spectrum LPWAN technologies – in particular LoRaWAN, which looks likely to become the de facto standard for this category of technology – have enjoyed an early mover advantage. As of December 2018, LoRaWAN accounted for over one-third of total LPWAN network deployment announcements tracked by Ovum, through the 3GPP technologies are catching up and NB-IoT connections will pass LoRaWAN connections by the end of 2019 (see Figure 1).
LPWAN take-up will initially be driven by relatively simple applications such as smart lighting; smart parking; water monitoring and leak detection; fire monitoring; smart metering; and monitoring of crops, animals and environment for smart agriculture. Going forward, we will see the emergence of additional use cases across new verticals including healthcare, automotive, transport and logistics and consumer wearables.
5G for IoT is still several years off for full standardization and commercialization, but is high on the agenda for providers. 5G testbeds are springing up, particularly for smart cities, industrial sites and automotive. There will be plenty of exploration around use cases in 2019, though the economic case is still unclear for many. There’s a lot of life yet in LTE, and LPWAN will pick up most of the previous 2G-type IoT demand. Real growth in the 5G market will come in the medium-to-long term.
Other IoT Trends to Watch
- Industrial IoT will attract new focus and drive private LTE
- New enabling technologies take center stage
To further learn more about the aforementioned trends and IoT, Ovum’s third annual edition of IoT Viewpoints brings together the latest thought leadership and industry data on emerging IoT trends, technologies and opportunities. Ovum also collaborated with Tractica who look at IoT through the lens of their deep expertise on artificial intelligence.
Ovum has a team of more than 5 senior analysts and consultants attending this year. Meet Ovum at Informa Tech booth located at BH 3-07, Basement 2 (B2) at Marina Bay Sands where Tractica team is there to join them as part of Informa Tech. If you wish to have a 1-on-1 meeting with Ovum and Tractica analysts at the event, fill up your details here and the team will arrange a meeting with you.