The next tranche of Machina Research's highly segmented M2M forecasts is proceeding apace. I'm currently looking at everything transport-related. The report Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communications in the Automotive Sector 2010-20 will be out in the next few weeks. Here's a preliminary sneak peek of the numbers.
By 2020 there will be around 2.4 billion road vehicles (including cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles) in the world with approximately 1.8 billion M2M connections between them. Unsurprisingly it is North America and Europe that dominate the figures, by virtue of their larger automotive markets, higher disposable income, faster vehicle replacement, wider mobile broadband deployment and (in some cases) government pressure.
Around 350 million vehicles will have a vehicle platform (such as GM's OnStar) running multiple applications. There will also be a further 1.5 billion stand-alone connected devices, predominantly accounted for by four types. In order of number of connections they are: accident alert systems (e.g. eCall), connected satnav, pay-as-you-drive insurance and security/tracking devices (such as SIMRAV in Brazil).
M2M in the automotive sector is definitely not as simple as one connection per vehicle. Lots of vehicles will have multiple connections. Some application developers/service providers will want to keep their modules separate from the vehicle platform, for example insurance companies. In other circumstances, commercial arrangements will discourage using the vehicle platform. For instance, high bandwidth applications will not be suitable for a roaming SIM since per-MB charges will be too high. However, this is exactly what many cars will have for their vehicle platform since the automobile manufacturer will do a deal for connectivity at a regional level, meaning roaming will be standard. I raised this issue in a previous blogpost here, so please take a look for more detail.