A report titled Internet of Things concludes there may be as many as 16 billion connected devices by the year 2020. That would average out to six devices per person on earth. The best known devices today are are smartphones but the main driver for additional devices going forward will be the machine to machine (M2M) sector.
M2M technology has become less expensive to implement which in turn has prompted more manufacturers to install the technology in a wide array of consumer items including cars, security systems, household appliances, and smart meters. According to the report, computer network equipment currently accounts for around 75 percent of household devices but that will decline to 25 percent by 2020.
Jim Morrish, the principal analyst at Analysys Mason who authored Internet of Things, says the stated figure of 16 billion connectable consumer devices by 2020 “may actually be a conservative estimate. Taking into account the uncertainties inherent in forecasting new technologies 10 years out, we believe that a realistic maximum number of devices may be 44 billion and six billion a realistic minimum. That’s a worldwide average of between 0.8 and 5.8 devices for each person alive in 2020.”
The Internet of Things (IOT) market is tied to industrial M2M systems, such as smart meters and their associated technologies. The portal to IOT will primarily be their smartphones which will have aggregation, filtering, management, and control M2M functions. Consumers will be able to control appliance and energy usage by communication between the smartphone in their hand and the smart meter at their home.
Morrish adds: “The most direct potential consequence of the IOT is the generation of huge quantities of data. In a hypothetical IOT environment, every physical object (and many virtual objects) may have a virtual twin in the cloud, which could be generating regular updates.”