Smart watches and smart homes have risen to top of US carriers’ connected devices portfolios

Devices that connect and ‘listen’ to each other are gaining larger roles in consumers’ lives due to rapid advancements in broadband speed, mobile technology and hardware. However, the types of connected devices offered by US wireless carriers have changed dramatically over the past three years, thanks in part to ongoing consolidation around the Internet of Things (IoT), says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Anisha Bhatia, Senior Device Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The leading categories of connected devices in the US carrier channel during 2017, such as fitness trackers, have been decimated due to a changing wearables landscape and Apple’s smartwatches. Fitbit’s unique selling proposition, fitness tracking, is now a commodity feature in most wearables.

“The smart home category was not prominent across US carrier online portfolios in 2017. The embedding of Amazon and Google’s AI-based voice assistants Alexa and Google Assistant across a variety of product categories has given rise to a succession of interconnected smart home devices, an increasingly important IoT subcategory, across carrier portfolios. By February 2020, the smart home category was second only to smartwatches in terms of connected devices offered by carriers.”

US wireless carriers have also reduced the number of connected devices they sell as the market matures. In March 2017, according to GlobalData’s Connected Devices tracker, the four major postpaid carriers offered a total of 200 connected devices. That number shrunk to 130 by February 2020. Verizon offers the most connected devices among the carriers.

Bhatia concludes: “Connected devices have allowed US carriers to find incremental sources of service revenue separate from smartphones and their associated wireless services, and these IoT-focused devices will continue to strengthen in number with advancements in 5G networks and artificial intelligence capabilities.”

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