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« Convergence Contest? For the 5 Trillion dollar Trophy. | Main | Welcome Stephen Elop to Best Job in High Tech: New CEO for Nokia »

September 08, 2010



Hi Mr. "crazy man" ha ha! Always great to see your thoughts, which are some of the most authoritative around.Nice explanation. I don't think that many subscriptions are possible, given the current global population and growth rates. But if we start bearing kids like that Swazi fellow... who knows? Have a good one.


very informative dear but too much lengthy. As rate of population increasing so the users. Mobiles are now parts of r lives... v need change ASAP for better future

Zahid Ghadialy

Tomi, there are a raft of devices that will be using the SIM's for variety of purposes. Take for example the Satnav's which a lot of people have as a seperate attachment and some do use for walking to places as well. Then there are eBook readers. There are camcorders with with data connectivity, etc. Femtocells may use SIM as well. Also it takes just one killer device (like iPhone did for mobiles) that can change the number dramatically. I think 50 Billion is possible by 2020-2025.

Steve Cary

Tomi - Good analysis as always. However, I think that you may be overlooking multiple device categories and segments that I think will be connected in the future. These segments are comprised within the rather generalized category of M2M (Machine to Machine). Now, I acknowledge that these categories may not be enough to tip the scales to 50 Billion, but I do know that these types of things are being connected right now. More importantly, the types of devices that are starting to be connected are not the same as are being written about in the popular trade press. I am not referring to Kindles, e-book readers or digital frames, or other forms of consumer goods transitioning from unconnected to connected. I am talking about industrial and enterprise equipment that is often hidden from view from the normal person. This includes HVAC equipment in buildings, stand alone air conditioners and heaters, lighting systems, billboards, sensors and distributed sensor systems.

Here are some examples: we work with customers who are connecting irrigation systems so that they can monitor loads, there are other customers who are implementing 'well monitoring systems' (water wells and other chemicals). There are customers who are implementing wireless video systems for remote surveillance. There are customers who are connecting industrial appliances such as blenders, vending machines, and other dispensary items. The list goes on and on, and is limited only by your imagination and the cost/benefit ratio surrounding the economics of connecting a device.

This is the tip of the iceberg for growing the connected world. I've observed a steady decline in the

module prices (both CDMA and GSM), and correspondingly, the major carriers (in United States) are starting to offer rate plans designed for these types of applications. These rate plans can be characterized as low cost, low data rate and flexible.

I think that we may all be surprised by the types of 'connected things' that are brought to market.

What will determine this is the sheer innovation of upcoming product developers and entrepreneurs who see the potential for new products, new business models and augmented services. I think the first time you see a 'connected blender' in the marketplace - you might be surprised that this is already happening.

Tomi - I look forward to you applying your focus to future discussions and analysis of the connected

device marketplace. I think that an objective, rational, 'numbers driven' view is sorely lacking from

the trade press at this time. This is an exciting, rapidly emerging yet poorly understood marketplace.

Best Regards,

Steve Cary
Feeney Wireless


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Anders Løvlie

just thought i'd point out that there are a lot of possible connections that wouldn't need to be mobile. let's say i'm gonna connect my fridge, washing machine etc to the internet; all right, by why should that be a mobile connection? my fridge isn't going anywhere soon...

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quick thinker


sweet I-LOVE-NOKIA talk...

have you seen this?

keep up the good NOKIA-work....

quick thinker

Hi Tomi-

great NOKIA-love talk as always!
congrats to your new CEO!

Tomi Ahonen

Hi everybody

I have had a very heavy week of travel with meetings in Asia, North America and ending here in Europe now. I will be responding to all of you when I am back home in Asia hopefully starting the replies early next week. Keep the comments coming..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi Ahonen

To everybody

I will be replying in stages, about 5 responses at a time. Please keep comments coming. I will get to your reply for sure.

Hi Ali, mobile, Zahid, Steve, Ida

Ali - thanks. Yeah, actually human growth rate change wouldn't come in time to impact this decade. So yeah, that could affect penetrations in 2020-2025 time frame.

mobile / Ron - sorry about the length. I do this as a hobby, I have a real day job too. So i really don't have time to edit these down to short stories, I apologize for that, but my readers find value in these blog postings inspite of their length. You can always buy any of my 9 books, they are professionally edited haha..

Zahid - oh? I am surprised Zahid haha... You don't like my numbers, I am crushed.. :-) Ok, satnav, ebooks, femtocells. Actually all are in the above. Satnav runs a fraction of cars (usually one car owner will not buy more than one satnav device?) so less than all cars. Under 1B total. ebooks are a tiny fractino of all PCs, a tiny fraction. So we're looking at a tiny fraction of 300M unit sales per year and installed base of 1.2 B. A tiny fraction of that. femtocells? Household count.. and certainly not most households, how many households dont' even have electricity haha. So while all you mentioned are relevant and 'big' growth opportunities measured in many millions, dozens of millions or perhaps even hundreds of millions, we need units that sell in 'many billions' to get to the big numbers. The scale of all those cool tech devices is not relevant or even 'measurable' in the context of mobile industry numbers where we do talk in billions. Yes, good points, Zahid, but none of them are nearly big enough. Not even if somehow they grew 10x bigger, nowhere near enough to rock this scale haha..

Steve - thanks. Very valid points there, and yes, these may well amount to a billion here, a billion there, during this next decade. I don't think enough to tip the scale, but its something like the areas you mention, that we will need to discover, and connect - globally, not just a few 'IT savvy' farmers or miners or factories etc.. But yeah, I could see some more in those numbers. Lets see as the facts start to roll in. As you know, I am driven by the numbers - numbers are my buddies - and if the facts come in, I will be open here to say I have changed my mind. So far the numbers don't look very strong (yet) for quite the 50B range for the next 10 years. Half that, yeah, but not 50B..

Ida - thanks

Anders - true. But think from the manufacturer's side. They cannot know if you have WiFi in your home. If they want to put in a remote monitoring facility for maintenance reasons - then the only sure way to connect the gadget is cellular. That means inserting the GSM chip rather than WiFi and once that is in there, that becomes the consumers' way to connect to the device as well. So then looking at the home - some smaller homes will have all gadgets within reach of say a WiFi station, but if you have a big house like many Americans typically have, you could have your 'den' with the IT equipment far away from the kitchen or the washing machine room etc, and they would not even reach each other etc. So cellular does make more sense, but then the pricing issues do have to be managed obviously.

Thank you all for writing, I will return with more comments to the rest.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


NOKIA-love talk as always??? you know ,Tomi?

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As you know, I am driven by the numbers - numbers are my buddies - and if the facts come in, I will be open here to say I have changed my mind. So far the numbers don't look very strong (yet) for quite the 50B range for the next 10 years. Half that, yeah, but not 50B.

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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