According to Gartner there will be 6.4 billion connected ‘things’, or devices, in use worldwide in 2016 – a rise of 30 per cent on 2015. This growth equates to 5.5 million new connections every day through 2016, and represents a massive opportunity for communications providers.
The forecast goes on to predict that the number of connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, reaching an estimated 20.8 billion by 2020.This growth, says Gartner, will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 per cent from 2015. It notes that services are dominated by the professional category (in which businesses contract with external providers in order to design, install and operate IoT systems). However, it adds, connectivity services (through communications service providers) and consumer services will grow at a faster pace.
“IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organisations and vendors,” said Jim Tully, vice president and analyst at Gartner.
The consumer category will see the most connected devices, but the enterprise sector will drive IoT revenues, according to Gartner. In terms of hardware spending, consumer applications will amount to $546 billion in 2016, while the use of connected things in the enterprise will drive $868 billion in 2016.
Enterprise vs. Consumer IoT
However, the number of connected things in the consumer sector is forecast to be 4 billion in 2016 and 13.5 billion in 2020, compared to 2.4 billion and 7.3 billion, respectively, in the enterprise sector.
“Aside from connected cars, consumer uses will continue to account for the greatest number of connected things, while enterprise will account for the largest spending,” said Tully.
Gartner breaks the enterprise sector into two classes of connected things: cross-industry devices that are used in multiple industries; and vertical-specific devices that are found in particular industries.
Cross-industry devices include connected light bulbs, HVAC and building management systems that are mainly deployed for purposes of cost saving. Vertical-specific devices include specialised equipment used in hospital operating theatres, tracking devices in container ships, and many others.
“Connected things for specialised use are currently the largest category, however, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices. By 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise,” concluded Tully.