According to a new research report from IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, global shipments of cellular IoT devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7 percent from 155.6 million units in 2016 to reach 530.1 million units in 2022. Strong growth is fueled by fast-growing demand in China and the global adoption of connected car technology in the automotive industry. Berg Insight believes that the maturity of the ecosystem is a crucial advantage for 3GPP-based standards in the IoT market. “LTE-M and NB-IoT are the latest in a long line of cellular standards already connecting hundreds of millions of devices worldwide”, says Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst and author of the report. “Alternative non-cellular LPWA technologies have a very long way to go before they achieve the same prominence”.
Berg Insight estimates that annual shipments of non-cellular LPWA devices for IoT reached 13.5 million units in 2016. 802.15.4 WAN accounted for 8.0 million units, while shipments of LoRa and Sigfox were around 4.0 million and 1.5 million units respectively. The vast majority of 802.15.4 devices are smart energy meters deployed in North America and other regions. Looking ahead, Berg Insight believes that LoRa and Sigfox will outgrow 802.15.4 WAN and achieve annual shipments in the range of 50–100 million units each by 2022. Based on initial feedback from the market, volume segments for non-cellular LPWA in the near to medium term will be asset tracking, buildings & security and smart cities.