Ahead of Mobile World Congress, the GSMA today released new research that forecasts total global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections will hit a quarter of a billion this year. 

The study found that global M2M connections reached 195 million in 2013, growing at nearly 40 percent per year between 2010 and 2013. 

The GSMA said M2M accounted for 2.8 percent of all global mobile connections at the end of 2013, double the 1.4 percent share recorded in 2010. 

“We are now living in a world where every device, machine or appliance can be wirelessly connected to the internet, providing a wealth of real-time information that can transform how people live and work," said said Hyunmi Yang, chief strategy officer for GSMA. "For mobile operators, connecting ‘machines’ to their networks is now a major focus area."  

According to the study, around 428 mobile operators currently offer M2M services across 187 countries. That's equivalent to 40 percent of the world’s mobile operators. 

Operators surveyed in the report are now undertaking real commercial M2M deployments, indicating that the market has moved from an early-stage to mass-market delivery phase. Many operators also commented that they are adapting their organisational structures and business models in order to serve a range of vertical industries with M2M solutions. 

According to the report, the automotive industry was one of the fastest-growing M2M markets.