3.3 billion network-edge devices set to connect and trade by 2030, report says

3.3 billion network-edge devices set to connect and trade by 2030, report says

According to a telecommunications consultant STL Partners report commissioned by Vodaphone, the number of connected devices trading directly with each other will increase to 3.3 billion by 2030.

There are only 88 million such Economy of Things (EoT) enabled devices expected to be trading in 2024, but this may increase significantly over the next decade. Where IoT devices talk to each other using the internet or other networks, EoT refers to vehicles, devices and machines interacting — basically, exchanging assets or money — with each other securely through a digital platform.

STL’s research projected that the market share of the emerging world of EoT is estimated to exceed 10% within the Internet of Things (IoT) market. This trend is expected to persist into the foreseeable future, with the potential to yield immense economic and social benefits as increasing numbers of people gain access to and reliance on these technologies.

Joint efforts in the industry are working towards realizing the Economy of Things (EoT). It will enable the monetization of data generated across connected devices, allowing them to communicate, trade and carry out transactions with each other within different systems and environments. However, research from STL Partners reveals that almost three-quarters of IoT data cannot be shared across different devices and platforms, representing untapped potential.

The report further predicts that by 2030, connected vehicles will be the primary source of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices due to advanced telematics and data collection capabilities. The data collected can then be used for communication and coordination between smart infrastructure such as electric vehicle (EV) charging points, parking space sensors and traffic lights.

The banks and payment facilitators that process payments for EoT believe in the technology’s positive future.

“There are so many opportunities with the EoT, so it is important to think about where it will progress fast in its first stages,” says Mark Williamson, the global head of FX Partnerships & Propositions at HSBC. “There is a lot of interest and penetration in the motoring and EV worlds, and this will be a key starting point.”

STL Partners also predicts that by 2030, there will be over 1.2 billion Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices connected to the smart grid, accounting for 40% of the projected market opportunity. AI analysis of IoT data can forecast future energy demand and provide the ability to sell any excess capacity back to the grid. Additionally, it is estimated that there will be 700 million IoT-enabled supply chain devices.

The role of network providers like Vodafone

The EoT market offers opportunities for companies such as Vodafone and its business customers as it opens up new markets and revenue streams, STL Partners says.

In 2022, Vodafone launched Digital Asset Broker (DAB), a new EoT platform intending to cater to its business customers.

Vodafone says businesses across multiple sectors can instantly connect new products to the DAB platform. Their products and services will be instantly verified as trustworthy and automatically allowed to exchange and trade data and money over secure and encrypted connections. Also, consumers will be safe knowing they are dealing with verified devices from a reliable authority.

According to Vodafone, companies operating in various sectors can access the DAB platform to quickly connect new services and products instead of building complex systems from scratch. This platform will verify its offerings for authenticity, providing secure and encrypted data exchange.

“The huge opportunity and primary source of revenue for the EoT come from generating data from IoT devices and sensors in real-time,” adds David Palmer, the head of Product Management for DAB. “These incorporate AI algorithms to generate monetizable events for subsequent transactions through smart contracts.”

The report also highlights various use cases such as smart grids, supply chain devices, solar panels, traffic lights, inventory systems, and personalized subscriptions with everyday devices like coffee machines.

The report ends with key guiding principles for those who wish to participate in the Economy of Things. STL Partners suggests solutions that can be applied across different industries and departments, providing value through connected devices. For instance, household IoT device data can be shared with energy companies to improve energy management based on demand while still ensuring the data is owned and protected by the device owner.

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