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Reality check for IoT: Shipments for 2020 pegged at 1.9B

Posted: 05 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:The Linley Group? IoT? Cisco? Linley Gwennap? microcontroller?

Cisco Systems has previously forecasted that about 50 billion devices will be connected on the Internet by 2020. That over-quoted fantasy estimate includes all PCs, smartphones, tablets and probably a few iKitchen sinks.

At his first event dedicated to the Internet of Things, Linley Gwennap will roll out his own estimate. The veteran market watcher estimates 1.9 billion new IoT devices will ship in 2020, up from about 200 million annual shipping today, mainly in the industrial space.

"I tried to look at new end applications instead of just making a big number; it's more of a bottoms-up look," said Gwennap, principal of The Linley Group. He leavened his projections with real-world stats on, for example, the global middle class population (about two billion) and the number of homes with WiFi and broadband (about 600 million).

The forecast assumes the industrial IoT is already in its heyday. For example, more than 300 million smart metres are installed already, and new systems are being deployed wherever there's a solid business case in everything from parking lots to irrigated farm fields.

Consumer market won't see a significant uptick for a couple years yet, however. "I'm forecasting today's consumer devices [such as $200+ smart thermostats] come down to $50 in a couple years and take off," he said.

IoT device shipment forecast

Industrial IoT is already at peak growth, but consumer and wearable markets won't shift into high gear for a couple years, Gwennap projected.

The IoT is already well served by a dozen major vendors that combine a processor and a radio on SoCs, Gwennap noted in a new report on the sector. "There are actually a lot of companies shipping these integrated processors," Gwennap said.

"Broadcom and Marvel have taken existing wireless chips and put microcontrollers into them," he said. "Atmel, Freescale and STMicroelectronics have taken micros and added radios to them; Qualcomm and MediaTek have come at this from their smartphone SoCs; and Toshiba and TI have products," he added.

Despite a crowded market, "over the next year or two there will be even more chips to make it easy to make a low-cost IoT product," he said.

Seeding the market, Ceva is expected to announce new wireless IP for IoT at the event. Inside Secure and Synopsys will announce a partnership to create IP for better security in IoT devices.

Just for fun, Simon Milner, CTO and co-founder of Petzila, will describe an on-demand IoT video product, presumably to track dogs, cats and goldfish. "It's always fun to hear from people actually trying to create an IoT company and the stories they tell," said Gwennap.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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