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8.4 billion “connected things” will be in use in 2017, up 31% from 2016: Gartner


February 14, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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IT research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. is forecasting that 8.4 billion “connected things” will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and reaching 20.4 billion by 2020.

The company added in a press release last week total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost US$2 trillion in 2017. Regionally, Greater China, North America and Western Europe are driving the use of connected things and the three regions together will represent 67% of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) installed base in 2017.

According to Gartner, the consumer segment is the largest user of connected things with 5.2 billion units in 2017, representing 63% of the overall number of applications in use. “Aside from automotive systems, the applications that will be most in use by consumers will be smart TVs and digital set-top boxes, while smart electric meters and commercial security cameras will be most in use by businesses,” said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner, in the release.

In addition to smart meters, applications tailored to specific industry verticals (including manufacturing field devices, process sensors for electrical generating plants and real-time location devices for healthcare) will drive the use of connected things among businesses through 2017, with 1.6 billion units deployed, Gartner said in the release. However, from 2018 onwards, cross-industry devices, such as those targeted at smart buildings (including LED lighting, HVAC and physical security systems) will take the lead as connectivity is driven into higher-volume, lower cost devices. In 2020, cross-industry devices will reach 4.4 billion units, while vertical-specific devices will amount to 3.2 billion units, Gartner reported.

In terms of hardware spending, the use of connected things among businesses is expected to drive US$94 billion in 2017. Consumer applications will amount to US$725 billion in 2017; by 2020, hardware spending from both segments will reach almost US$3 trillion.

“IoT services are central to the rise in IoT devices,” said Denise Rueb, research director at Gartner, in the release. Total IoT services spending (professional, consumer and connectivity services) is on pace to reach US$273 billion in 2017.

“Services are dominated by the professional IoT-operational technology category in which providers assist businesses in designing, implementing and operating IoT systems,” added Rueb. “However, connectivity services and consumer services will grow at a faster pace. Consumer IoT services are newer and growing off a small base. Similarly, connectivity services are growing robustly as costs drop, and new applications emerge.”