Internet Of Things (IoT): Trends And Statistics

The Internet of Things (IoT), as defined by Gartner, is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. With this we can distinguish 3 key components which make any "thing" a part of "Internet of Things"
  • The "thing" is part of a network and must be able to identify itself with a unique identity 
  • The "thing" should be able to sense from the environment / user interactions using sensors. 
  • The "thing" should be able to transfer the collected data / information collected from user interactions through communication component. 

The Internet of Things is not only leading to invention of new new objects but is also reinventing many ordinary objects with digital sensing, computing and communications capabilities. This functionality provides both new and previously passive objects with a "digital voice", and the ability to create and deliver an information stream reflecting their status and that of their surrounding environment. Such developments radically change the value proposition, creating new services and usage scenarios and driving new business models. 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 services. 

Internet Of Things Growth Trends and Statistics

In a Nov 2015 study, Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, By 2020, the number of connected things worldwide will reach 20.8 billion. It is also estimated that in 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.


Another 2015 from Cisco estimates the total number of connected things to reach 50 billion by 2020. While different studies may share share the statistics on IoT growth. While different studies may place the absolute numbers differently, strong growth trend in number of connected things is something which all studies have in common. That's exactly what we are reviewing here.

In addition to the overall growth, it is also important to understand the constituents of connected things to understand the drivers of the growth highlighted in Gartner's study:

  • Consumer Uses: Aside from connected cars, consumer uses will continue to account for the greatest number of connected things (though enterprise will account for the largest spending). Gartner estimates that 4 billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector in 2016, and will reach 13.5 billion in 2020.
  • Enterprise Uses with generic or cross-industry devices (used across industries) - Cross-industry devices include connected light bulbs, HVAC and building management systems that are mainly deployed for purposes of cost saving. 
  • Enterprise Uses with vertical-specific devices for particular industries - This includes specialised equipment used in hospital operating theatres, tracking devices in container ships, and many others. While connected things for specialised use are currently the largest category, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices. By 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise.

IoT Applications and Use Cases

Here is a very useful infographic by Lebelium highlighting some key applications and use cases of Internet of Things
Image Source: Libelium

References: [1][2]