GSMA: revenue from UK data use to surpass voice in 2013

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Association predicts M2M will boost data revenues for mobile operators this year

Mobile operators’ revenue from data in the UK is predicted to overtake voice in 2013 for the first time, led by the increase in M2M connections.

Thanks to recent innovations by operators, GSMA director of the Connected City programme Ana Tavares Lattibeaudiere said many of the sights in the MWC 2013 ‘Connected City’ exhibit will become commonplace in the coming years.

Highlights included an NFC-enabled scooter which can be activated with the tap of a phone, city lights controlled remotely and many ‘smart’ home facilities, from a heating system you can use an app to control to an automatic feeder which can dispense food to a pet controlled by your smartphone.

In order to grow this market, the GSMA is holding discussions with retailers and, in the case of smart metering, several UK-based utility companies.

According to Lattibeaudiere, it is also in talks with the NHS on the implementation of mHealth solutions that could, in future, allow remote monitoring of a diabetic patient’s blood sugar levels or blood pressure.

She told Mobile News that of the 25 billion connections worldwide by 2020, less than half would be mobile. She added the initial growth area was in industrial machinery and the automotive sector, with health expected to be the big future growth area as soon as the public has been assured of the service’s security.

The GSMA estimates the global market for data connections will reach $1.2 trillion (£791 billion) by 2020. Lattibeaudiere said: “We believe remote monitoring of chronic diseases is one of the most important things M2M can do. However, mHealth will start with more well-be ingrelated uses, such as monitoring calorie intake. Developing countries need to reduce the costs of healthcare, so M2M is of real interest to organisations such as the NHS.

“The barriers so far is that you have a legacy system in place in health organisations. People don’t mind when it comes to just a monitoring app where you type in info for your own benefit, like amounts of exercise or calories consumed.

“When it’s something like your personal health record that isn’t digital yet it’s more challenging and complicated but we believe we are on the right track and there’s a true willingness to reduce healthcare costs, so we’ll get there.”

She added the conversation was much further along with utility companies as they could see the benefit of a ‘smart grid’ through which they can monitor usage and make environmental and economic savings.

“Our objective is to accelerate the market. We regularly talk to the energy companies to see what the barriers are and let them see the savings in the long term that smart metering can provide,” Lattibeaudiere said.

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