Devices linked to the internet are expected to eclipse the human population on Earth by more than three-fold in 2020, according to Gartner, a US-based IT research and advisory company.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains momentum, the number of internet-connected devices could reach 25 billion within the next six years, surpassing the UN’s forecasted human population of 7.7 billion.
The huge growth in the number of IoT devices will stem from the internet linkage of previously unconnected items such as garbage bins and street lights so that they can deliver information to the authorities.
“It is likely that within the next few years, some level of built-in intelligence and connectivity will be regarded as standard, and this will rapidly filter down to mainstream products and service,” said Gartner.
IoT refers to all devices that can access the web, not just consumer goods such as tablets, wearables and smartphones. Nevertheless, phones and wearable gadgets that monitor human health will account for the majority of these devices and contribute the highest share of revenue.
The number of internet-connected devices in the consumer sector is expected to hit 2.9 billion next year, with the car industry reporting the largest annual growth rate of 96 per cent. By 2020, there could be more than 13 billion active devices in the consumer sector.
In addition, the utilities, manufacturing and transportation sectors are expected to become the top three users of IoT devices, with 736 million internet-linked devices in total by 2015. However, the utilities segment is predicted to clinch the number one spot in 2020 thanks to the proliferation of smart meters, followed by manufacturing and government.