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This year, device shipments will fall. Internet of Things spending will rise. And satellite networks will proliferate.

That’s according to the latest, greatest IT market intelligence. And here’s your tech provider’s roundup.

Global device shipments: dropping

Unit shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones will collectively fall by over 3% this year, predicts research firm Gartner.

This year, those shipments will total 2.15 million units worldwide, Gartner expects. Last year’s device shipments totaled 2.22 million units worldwide.

Phone shipments are forecast to perform the worst, dropping by nearly 4% this year. Gartner says new phones simply don’t offer enough features, utility or efficiency to persuade users to upgrade.

PC shipments are forecast to drop by just 1%. By units shipped, Gartner expects 257 million PCs to ship worldwide this year. That will be down from 259.7 million units shipped worldwide last year.

There is one area of growth: what Gartner calls “premium ultramobiles.” Shipments of these PCs are forecast to rise 8% this year, reaching 69.8 million units. Last year’s shipments totaled 64.4 million units.

IoT spend: rising

The Internet of Things is attracting big investments. How big? Some $225 billion worldwide this year alone.

That’s the latest from IDC. The market watcher predicts that worldwide spending on IoT services this year will hit $94.6 billion; IoT hardware, $91.6 billion; and IoT software, $39.3 billion.

By region, the biggest spender on IoT will be Asia-Pacific. This region alone will account for over a third (35.7%) of total worldwide spending on IoT this year, IDC expects.

Within Asia-Pacific region, the country spending the most on IoT this year will be China. Its IoT spending this year is predicted to approach $169 billion. The next-biggest IoT spenders in the region will be South Korea ($26.2 billion) and India ($20.6 billion).

By industry, the biggest spenders on IoT this year will be discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, and utilities. Together, IDC predicts, these three industries will account for 40 cents of every dollar spent worldwide on IoT this year.

Satellite networks: enabling

Speaking of IoT, the technology has a problem. Terrestrial cellular networks cover only 20% of the Earth’s surface. That means IoT devices in the other 80% lack a way to share their data.

Until now, that is. To the rescue: satellites. They can be used to network IoT devices.

Market watcher ABI Research now predicts that by 2024 — that’s just five years off — some 24 million IoT connections around the world will be made via satellite.

ABI research analyst Harriet Sumnall says: “While the market using satellite connection is still immature, it shows great opportunities for growth.”

Some of these connections should be provided by satellites already in orbit. This will be a good business opportunity for current satellite providers, including GlobalStar and Inmarsat.

But they could soon feel competition from satellite startups. Amazon is looking to get into the satellite business, as is SpaceX.

They’re among those working on Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. ABI says that while these satellites are costly to set up, they’re less costly to operate over the long term.

As a result, LEO vendors could undercut the prices of more traditional providers. A price war? That should be good for IoT users.


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