Berg Insight says 62.0 million European households will have smart gas meters by 2022
According to a new report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the installed base of smart gas meters in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 37.8 percent between 2016 and 2022 to reach 62.0 million units at the end of the period. Deployments of smart gas meters on the European market accelerated in 2017 as the number of installed devices reached 17.3 million. The growth is mainly driven by nationwide rollouts in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. Italy is the largest market with annual demand projected to peak at more than 5 million units towards the end of the decade. France entered the mass-rollout phase in 2017 and the UK market is expected to take off in 2018. In the Netherlands, the full-scale rollout is already underway and will continue until the early 2020s. The European smart gas meters use a variety of communication methods, including fixed RF networks and local interfaces to master electricity meters. Short-range radio communication using the 169 MHz frequency band is the de-facto industry networking standard in France and Italy where smart gas meters are deployed independently of smart electricity meters. In the UK and the Netherlands, local wired or wireless interfaces are used for transmitting readings via the customer’s smart electricity meter. Several vendors have performed successful trials of using NB-IoT networks for connecting smart gas meters in the past year. “Berg Insight expects that smart gas metering will become one of the first high-volume applications for NB-IoT”, said Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. “The combination of low data volumes and the need for 10+ year battery operation is an ideal match”.

Berg Insight says pure-play PLC smart meter shipments in Europe will peak in 2017
Annual shipments of smart electricity meters in Europe will grow by 71 percent in 2017 to reach 23.1 million units, according to a new research report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight. Growth is driven by accelerating deployments in France, Italy and the UK that coincide with the final phase of the nationwide rollout in Spain. The great majority of the devices deployed in 2017 use powerline communication (PLC). Already in 2018, shipments of PLC smart meters are however expected to start to decline, even as the market remains strong. Instead radio-based technologies like 4G cellular (LTE-M/NB-IoT) and RF mesh will increase their market shares. “France and Spain will be the last major countries in Western Europe to deploy pure-play PLC smart metering solutions”, says Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. “Italy is switching to hybrid PLC/RF communication for improved reliability in the second-generation rollout starting this year. The UK and the Netherlands focus on 2G/4G cellular technologies and in Scandinavia, RF mesh networks have come to dominate the market”. Berg Insight believes that IoT-optimised cellular technologies such as LTE-M/NB-IoT and RF mesh networks will steadily increase their market shares in smart metering over the next 5–10 years. The shift from 2G to 4G/5G will eventually offer improved performance at lower cost. LTE-M will probably be the most suitable alternative for smart electricity metering, while NB-IoT will cover the needs in smart gas and water metering. At the same time, the standardisation of RF mesh networks by the Wi-SUN Alliance and other standard bodies has a good potential for establishing a thriving ecosystem for connected products in the smart cities and smart energy markets.

The installed base of service robots will reach 264 million worldwide by 2026
According to a new research report from Berg Insight, the installed base of service robots reached 29.6 million worldwide at the end of 2016. The global service robot market is dominated by three segments that together accounted for a majority of the global installed base at the end of 2016. The largest segment in terms of installed base is the floor cleaning robot segment, which alone accounted for 80 percent of total at the end of 2016 with an estimated 23.8 million units. The other two large segments include the UAV segment as well as the robot lawn mower segment, which are estimated to have reached installed bases of around 4.0 million and 1.6 million units respectively at the end of 2016. Moreover, 0.1 million AGVs and 0.05 million milking robots are estimated to have been active at the end of 2016. The remaining segments including humanoid robots, assistant robots and companion robots, telepresence robots, powered human exoskeletons, surgical robots and autonomous mobile robots are all estimated to have had less than 50,000 units installed each at the end of 2016. The strong market growth is expected to last for years to come, driving the installed base of active service robots worldwide to 264.3 million by 2026, which corresponds to CAGR of 24 percent between 2016 and 2026. The growing interest and rapid development in service robotics in recent years is much due to the many innovative and successful start-ups active on the market. Large companies are also increasingly investing in robotics, either through in-house R&D investments or via acquisitions of start-ups. “Service robots are clearly on the rise in everyday environments” says Egil Edvardsen, IoT Analyst, Berg Insight. “Already today, domestic service robots help individuals in their homes to clean the floors and windows, mow the lawn and water the garden. In a not too distant future, we can expect domestic robots of even higher sophistication and capability, such as assistive robots for supporting the elderly, for helping with additional household chores and for entertainment and education”. Robotics in professional applications has already had a significant impact in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, logistics and public relations and is growing in economic importance. “Robotic exoskeletons help elderly and disabled people to restore body functions and enable them to remain active in society. In hospitals, innovative robots support doctors to perform safer and less invasive surgeries. Autonomous robots transport goods and parcels in manufacturing plants and logistics centres. Unmanned aerial vehicles can autonomously gather useful data for a variety of industries such as agriculture”, continues Carl Jonsson, IoT analyst, Berg Insight.

Autonomous cars alter the playing field for motor insurance
Berg Insight, the world’s leading M2M/IoT market research provider, today released new findings about the effect of autonomous cars on auto insurance. Several major trends are currently impacting the motor insurance market, which has resulted in higher competitiveness and new stakeholders on the market. The integration of telematics technology constitutes the latest revolution for the automotive insurance industry. Telematics enables automotive insurers to improve pricing mechanisms based on actual driving data, gain better control of claims and differentiate their offerings to current and prospective policyholders. Berg Insight is of the opinion that the next revolution of the motor insurance industry is expected to be the introduction of semi- and fully-autonomous vehicles. The total number of new registrations of autonomous cars is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 62 percent from 0.2 million units in 2020 to reach 24 million units in 2030. The active installed base of autonomous cars is forecasted to have reached about 71 million at the end of 2030. These figures include SAE Level 3 and 4 cars. As autonomous vehicles emerge, new challenges and opportunities surface for insurers. One opportunity for insurance companies is for instance the risks related to the complex software embedded in the autonomous vehicles. Autonomous driving will furthermore transform mobility, remodel the concept of owning a car and open new opportunities for insurers specialised on products such as ride- and carsharing insurance. Autonomous car technology is expected to develop significantly in the upcoming years and insurance companies must adapt to the market needs and the emerging technology. “Innovations within semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) including safety-enhancing features such as emergency break assist (EBA) systems can already make policyholders eligible for sizeable discounts on traditional insurance”, said Martin Svegander, IoT/M2M Analyst, Berg Insight. Increasing the share of driving automation to the point where the driver’s influence eventually becomes virtually negligible poses an interesting scenario from the auto insurance perspective. This scenario will create a range of complex regulatory challenges that can affect the insurance market profoundly. “If the vehicles are truly autonomous, one can even argue that accident liability should be assumed by the OEMs and associated suppliers rather than the individual car owners”, continues Mr Svegander. Berg Insight believes that insurance telematics technology will have a crucial role for risk analysis of accidents related to autonomous driving, not the least as a means to determine the liable party. Although cautious players within the insurance industry might argue that it will most likely take decades before autonomous vehicles replace conventional cars, the technology for self-driving cars is already making its way into today’s car models. “Autonomous cars are paving the way for the future and it is important for the insurance industry to take an active part of the revolution” concludes Mr. Svegander.

The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe will reach 14.1 million by 2021
The number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in Europe was 6.6 million in Q4-2016, according to a new research report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 percent, this number is expected to reach 14.1 million by 2021. The top-14 vendors have today more than 100,000 active units in Europe. TomTom’s subscriber base has grown both organically and by acquisitions during the past years and the company is now the clear market leader on the European market and reached an installed base of about 609,000 units at year-end 2016. Masternaut is still in second place and had achieved an installed base of an estimated 300,000 units at the year-end. Berg Insight ranks Microlise as the third largest player in terms of active installed base with around 210,000 units. Verizon (Fleetmatics and Telogis), ABAX, Teletrac Navman, Bornemann, Transics, Trimble, Gurtam, Targa Telematics, Viasat and OCEAN (Orange) also have more than 100,000 active devices in the field. The HCV manufacturers are now growing their subscriber bases considerably in Europe thanks to standard line fitment of fleet management solutions. Dynafleet by Volvo, FleetBoard by Daimler and Scania Fleet Management are the most successful with active subscriber bases of 99,000 units, 99,000 units and 172,000 units respectively as of Q4-2016. The consolidation trend on this market continued in 2017. “Ten major mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the past twelve months among the vendors of fleet management systems in Europe”, said Johan Fagerberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. Trakm8 acquired Roadsense Technology in August 2016. Roadsense is a supplier of fleet telematics and safety products in the UK. In September, Fleetmatics (Verizon) acquired the Portugal-based fleet management provider Inosat, thus expanding the presence in Southern Europe and to some extent also South America. The acquisition of Inosat added around 50,000 vehicle subscriptions to Fleetmatics’ existing installed base. Trackunit acquired German-based Dreyer+Timm in September 2016. Later in November, Fleetmatics (Verizon) announced the acquisition of Berlin-based TrackEasy, a fleet management software provider in Germany and Poland, adding approximately 15,000 vehicles to the installed base. In January 2017, Viasat Group acquired MobileFleet (majority stake adding about 23,000 subscribers). In February, Princip was acquired by W.A.G. Payment Solutions which is among the six largest European providers of payment solutions for road mobility. Viasat Group continued its acquisition spree in May when buying ICOM in Bulgaria. One of the largest transactions this year was when Investcorp acquired ABAX in June 2017. Investcorp paid NOK 1.8 billion (US$ 210 million), which translates to about US$ 1,000 per FM subscriber. Isotrak acquired UK Fleet Management technology business VeriLocation in the same month. The latest transaction was done in July when TIMKEN acquired Groeneveld Group that owns Groeneveld ICT Solutions. Mr. Fagerberg anticipates that the market consolidation of the still overcrowded industry will continue in 2017–2018.

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