In a bid to make the most of their vast telecommunications networks, European telecoms are strengthening their Internet of Things (IoT) business by integrating computing and communications power in all kinds of common devices.
UK's Vodafone Group connected devices chief Erik Brenneis claims his company is planning to take a lead in IoT expansion.
With networking major Cisco predicting that the number of devices connected to internet to reach 50 billion by 2050, Vodafone is making effort so that its cellular network infrastructure will be compatible with all IoT devices to converse with each other, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Vodafone reported 16.2 million connected devices - excluding mobile phones -- for the fiscal year through March, up from 12 million in the same period a year earlier. That number is expected to grow an average of 24% a year between this year and 2018.
Connecting devices with wireless networks has turned out to be a booming business, anticipated to hit $7.1 trillion by 2020, the growth signifies a beneficial opportunity for telecoms, with new connected wireless devices set to overtake mobile handsets in the next decade.
Furthermore, Vodafone plans to connect everything from refrigerators, to pacemakers, to cars through its communications network, further expanding its control into a range of businesses.
Brenneis said: "Cars will notify each other about traffic conditions or brake automatically to improve safety.
"We connect any machine that any of our customers want to have connected."
In addition, EE reportedly has 1.8 million machine to machine connections, reporting a 19% rise year-over-year, with its Wi-Fi hotspot router for cars being the most popular.
EE chief executive Olaf Swantee said: "It is still small in term of revenue, but overall the connected device category definitely has more attention from the company and gets more resources and support."
Other firms involved in the game include French telecom major Orange and Spanish firm Telefónica.