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Internet-connected devices tip 5B in August 2010

Posted: 20 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet? connected devices? market report?

One of these August days, the number of devices that are connected to the Internet will pass the 5 billion mark, according to IMS Research. And as the second wave of connected device growth is accelerating, this milestone will be followed by more growth waves in many new connected device types. By 2020, the analyst expects there will be 22 billion devices connected to the Internet.

Ian Weightman, president, IMS Research, explains that "In the first connectivity wave, the bulk of devices connected to the Internet were PCs and laptops plus their associated modem and networking equipment. Today, over 1 billion computers worldwide are regularly connected to the Internet, and this number is growing steadily."

The second growth wave is Internet connected cellphones, with more cellphones than computers now connected to the Internet. And then there are the emerging Internet connected devices including tablets, netbooks, eBook readers, Internet TVs, digital picture frames, cameras, etc.

Weightman also explains that "There will be a number of drivers behind this amazing growth. Firstly, by 2020 we are forecasting that there will be over 6 billion cellphones in use around the world, the great majority of which will be Internet connected. If you then consider that there are around 2.5 billion TVs in use today, and that many of these will be replaced with Internet connected sets, either directly or via an STB, you have another tremendous growth area. In addition, as automobile connectivity begins to gain traction, an increasing proportion of the world's 1.1 billion cars will be replaced over time by models that have Internet connectivity."

However, this is only part of the picture, Weightman notes, "The potential for greatest growth comes from the third wave which will include machine-to-machine (M2M) deployments. This has the potential to go way beyond industrial applications to encompass increasingly sophisticated smart grids, networked security cameras and sensors, connected home appliances and HVAC equipment, ITS infrastructure for traffic and parking management, etc."

With these numbers, IMS Research's predictions are actually less than some other industry estimates. When asked to comment on forecasts of one trillion connected devices within the next few years from other analysts, Weightman says "While we could conceive of numbers a bit higher than our forecast, we can only conclude that some of the huge numbers being touted are based on a much broader definition of a connected device in M2M environments. Even so, I cannot conceive of the trillion connected device world within the next decade."

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