The Internet of Things (IoT) - internet-connected devices with embedded technology but excluding smartphones, tablets and personal computers - will grow to 26 billion units worldwide in 2020, according to a new report from technology research company Gartner. That’s almost a 30-fold increase from 900 million devices in 2009.
These new devices will help hardware, software and service suppliers generate an extra $309 billion (£189 billion) in 2020, with benefits from the sale and usage of IoT technology expected to be worth $1.9 trillion (£1.2 trillion) globally.
However, the report also says the low cost of adding IoT technology means that ‘ghost’ devices with unused connections will be common.
Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner, said “The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units. In contrast, the IoT will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time. By 2020, component costs will have come down to the point that connectivity will become a standard feature, even for processors costing less than $1. This opens up the possibility of connecting just about anything, from the very simple to the very complex, to offer remote control, monitoring and sensing. The fact is, that today, many categories of connected things in 2020 don't yet exist. As product designers dream up ways to exploit the inherent connectivity that will be offered in intelligent products, we expect the variety of devices offered to explode.”
Similar figures were published earlier this year by ABI Research, which estimated there were already 10 billion internet-connected devices and anticipated a total of 30 billion internet-connected devices by 2020.