Telecommunications and tech firms spent more than US$31 billion on internet of things related investments and acquisitions between 2011 and 2015 – with Intel leading the charge.
Ovum says Intel's $16.7 billion acquisition of chipset maker Altera, put the vendor as the front runner for investment spend, however, Verizon, Google and Qualcomm all made at least one acquisition over $1 billion during the period.
Francesco Radicati, Ovum senior analyst and author of the new report, says while telcos are becoming more interested in IoT, it is vendors such as Intel and Qualcomm, along with tech giants like Google, who are still putting the most money into the sector.
“Thanks to their corporate venture funds and their proximity to key innovation ecosystems, these firms have the expertise to identify up-and-coming IoT startups, as well as the funds to invest and acquire such companies,” Radicati says.
He says telcos are now becoming more active, setting up their own venture funds and startup accelerators and making acquisitions.
Radicati cites Verizon's 2012 acquisition of Hughes Telematics, and Vodafone's 2014 purchase of connected car service provider Cobra.
The report shows the number of acquisitions has speed up since 2013, with Ovum noting the number of acquisitions grew from four deals in 2011 to 19 in 2015. A dip in 2012 to three acquisitions reversed in 2013, returning to four, with nine in 2014.
The number of investments peaked in 2013 at 11, as companies such as Fitbit attracted more interest from the tech and telco sectors.
Ovum says in 2015 the biggest single investment was a US$115 million Series D round for ultra-narrowband network provider Sigfox, made by a group which included the venture funds from Telefonica, NTT Docomo and SK Telecom.