Of the 21.7 billion active connected devices worldwide, more than 11.7 billion (54 percent) will be Internet of Things (IoT) device connections at the end of this year — a first for the industry, a new report said. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the market for IoT devices continues to grow.
The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects “things” that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
In 2020, for the first time, there are more IoT connections (connected cars, smart home devices, connected industrial equipment) than there are non-IoT connections (smartphones, laptops, and computers), according to the report prepared by market insights firm IoT Analytics.
“By 2025, it is expected that there will be more than 30 billion IoT connections, almost 4 IoT devices per person on average,” said Knud Lasse Lueth, Founder, and CEO of IoT Analytics.
Compared to an analysis in mid-2018, IoT Analytics has now raised its forecast for the number of connected IoT devices in 2025 (from 21.5 billion to 30.9 billion).
Several factors are driving the growth, most notably the growing adoption in China. IoT has been booming in China at levels that seemed unimaginable a few years ago.
“While in 2015, for example, Chinese telecom companies accounted for roughly one quarter (27 percent) of all cellular IoT connections, this number has shot up to 75 percent in 2020 with China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile leading the global cellular IoT connections market,” Lueth informed.
The pervasive use of personal IoT devices such as fitness wearables further accelerated in the last two years and is expected to continue to do so. “The introduction and subsequent adoption of a new generation of ecosystem-enabled smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo led to faster adoption of connected home devices than previously assumed,” the report mentioned.
Counting a mere 10 million connections in 2015, the global market for low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity was quasi non-existent five years ago. LPWA enables IoT connections for remote battery-powered devices such as smart meters, containers in logistics, or critical infrastructure like fire hydrants in the city.
“In 2020, this market reached 423 million IoT connections and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43 percent to reach 2.5 billion IoT connections by 2025,” the report mentioned.
The definition of the Internet of things has evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems. In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products pertaining to the concept of the “smart home”, including devices and appliances (such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems and cameras, and other home appliances) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones and smart speakers.
There are a number of serious concerns about dangers in the growth of IoT, especially in the areas of privacy and security, and consequently, industry and governmental moves to address these concerns have begun including the development of international standards.