Comprehensive Guide to IoT Statistics You Need to Know in 2020

By: Kaylie Gyarmathy on March 26, 2020

The last few years have seen the Internet of Things (IoT) grow from a theoretical concept to a major priority for many organizations. As companies integrate IoT devices into their network infrastructures, they are looking for new ways to utilize them and manage the data they collect. Given the tremendous impact these devices are likely to have on the world, it’s worth looking at a few key Internet of Things statistics.

What is IoT?

In a very general sense, IoT refers to a broad range of internet-connected devices that are capable of communicating with other devices and networks. They can perform a variety of functions but are most often used to gather information and perform specific actions. While many of them have the ability to process data, some are only intended to gather and transmit data elsewhere for processing.

The advantage of IoT devices is that their connectivity greatly enhances functionality and market reach. Since they can connect to a broader network, they can have extensive functionality with relatively modest hardware capabilities. They are crucial for automation strategies and can be used to control a variety of tasks and functions remotely.

IoT Statistics: How Many Internet-Connected Devices Are There?

1. There Will be 41 Billion IoT Devices by 2027

That’s a lot of devices. When looking at the raw number of connected devices Business Insider predicts will be connected to the internet by the end of the decade, it’s easy to lose sight of how large the figure actually is. For context, take a moment to look at the difference between a million and a billion in terms of time:

One million seconds is roughly equal to 11.5 days.

One billion seconds is roughly equal to 31.75 years.

The difference between a few million IoT devices and a few billion, then, is quite staggering. Other estimates that push IoT projections farther into the future provide even more striking numbers, forecasting as many as 125 billion IoT devices by 2030.

2. By 2023, 70% of Automobiles Will Be Connected to the Internet

Autonomous vehicles are coming, whether people like it or not. While precise numbers are difficult to determine, the automotive industry alone has invested over $100 billion on research and development of self-driving cars over the last five years alone. While driverless cars may not be taking over the highways soon, their need to gather and analyze huge amounts of data will demand more sophisticated edge data centers capable of directing the resulting digital traffic.

Even if self-driving vehicles aren’t here yet, existing automobiles are increasingly incorporating IoT features. From sensors that transmit usage and mechanical condition data to manufacturers and dispatchers to internet connectivity that facilitates better GPS and driver comfort, today’s vehicles offer as much connectivity as the modern home. The computing power that makes this connectivity possible will make IoT-enabled vehicles valuable tools in edge computing frameworks.

3. Every Second, Another 127 Devices Are Connected to The Internet

Increasingly, IoT devices are popping up everywhere. Former Cisco researcher David Evans, who calculated just how many devices were being added every second, provides a glimpse into how widespread they’ve already become:

…“things” are no longer just computers and phones. Today, literally anything can be connected, including tennis rackets, diapers, clothing, vehicles, and, of course, homes. And although people may find this unsettling, the network is also starting to include biological things: Today, pets, crops, livestock, and the clothing on your body can be connected. We’re not far from an Internet link you can actually swallow as a pill.

With so many devices proliferating, IT professionals will need to be much more aware of potential security threats. Each device represents a different attack vector for hackers, and with so many devices coming and going in the workplace, companies must become more diligent in managing access.

4. There Will Be 1.9 Billion 5G Cellular Subscriptions by 2024

In a 2019 report on the mobile industry, Ericsson predicts that the rapid expansion of 5G availability will continue to drive Internet of Things growth. The North American market is expected to see the most growth, with 63 percent of mobile subscriptions featuring 5G service, but 47 percent of cellular subscribers in East Asia will have 5G access as well. Short-range IoT devices are expected to see the greatest benefits from these connections. Wide-area and cellular internet-connected devices should also continue to contribute more to total cellular data traffic, which increased by 82 percent in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Much of this IoT growth will be credited to reductions in chipset prices and the expansion of cellular technologies such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1. 

IoT Statistics: What is the IoT Market Size?

5. Companies Will Invest Up to $1.1 Trillion in IoT by 2023

Many companies have already identified IoT devices as a clear value-add for their business. Far from just the technology sector, clothing manufacturers, healthcare providers, and municipalities around the world are investing in new ways to leverage the potential of interconnected devices.

With so much capital pouring into research and development, it’s safe to assume that the IoT market size of the next decade will look very different from today’s. One thing that won’t change, however, will be the importance of edge data centers in IoT networks. This may explain why colocation data centers continue to be a vital IT solution for organizations looking to rapidly scale their operations to make the most of IoT devices.

6. The Total Economic Impact of IoT Could Range Between $4 and $11 Trillion per Year by 2025

Research by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that IoT growth will continue to be rapid despite the fact that many of the most promising applications of the technology have yet to be fully deployed. Many companies already utilizing IoT technology are doing so modestly, such as using smart sensors to track products flowing through their supply chains. However, complementary technologies such as more versatile cloud technology and edge computing architecture will likely enable a rapid expansion of IoT applications. The expansion of 5G technology and reductions in hardware costs are also expected to help increase the widespread adoption of internet-connected devices.

7. The Home IoT Market is Expected to Grow to $53.45 Billion by 2022

Smart home devices, most of which are used to automate lighting, climate, appliances, entertainment, or security systems in a household, are already entering homes in record-breaking numbers. As an example, “smart speaker” devices like the Amazon Echo are already in 31 percent of US broadband households as of Q1 2019, up from a mere seven percent in 2017. 

8. By 2024, the Global IoT Healthcare Market is Expected to Reach $140 Billion

Healthcare is one of the most exciting use cases for IoT technology, which is why the market in that sector is expected to grow by 12 percent annually from 2017 to 2023. The potential of telemedicine and wearable sensors will make it possible for medical professionals to better monitor and treat patients, especially in traditionally difficult-to-reach regions. Although the healthcare sector faces unique challenges owing to the compliance demands of HIPAA/HITECH requirements, improvements in IoT security will help the technology to be applied more broadly in the coming years.

IoT Statistics: How to Invest in the Internet of Things

9. Over 80 Percent of Industrial Manufacturing Companies Are Using or Planning to Use IoT Devices

While self-driving cars and smart kitchens snatch most of the IoT headlines, some of the most exciting innovation is taking place in the manufacturing sector. From intelligent machines capable of performing automated tasks to augmented wearables that allow people to work more efficiently and safely, companies are experimenting with new ways of putting the latest IoT innovations to use.

Better data analysis will also enable predictive maintenance, better energy efficiency, and higher overall levels of production uptime. Combined with edge computing architecture, industrial IoT devices will be especially valuable for places where low or non-existent bandwidth has led to data infrastructure challenges in the past. Smart machinery will be able to operate in more places than ever before, helping to boost production, create jobs, and grow the economy.

10. Nine out of Ten Senior Executives in Technology, Media, and Telecom Companies Say IoT Growth is Critical to Their Business

The majority of business leaders in these industries seem to understand the value of investing in comprehensive IoT strategies. Some of that confidence could be due to the early return on investment many companies have already experienced. Research by McKinsey has found that the financial impact of IoT use cases increases as more of those use cases are rolled out. Leading IoT companies anticipate that their IoT efforts will boat gross profits by as much as 13 percent over the next few years. Expanding IoT use cases today also means improving endpoint infrastructure, which will put companies willing to support IoT initiatives in a position of strength and flexibility in the future.

11. Over 60 Percent of US Cities Are Investing in Smart City IoT Technology

Fully interconnected smart cities have the potential to fully unleash the possibilities of IoT, and cities around the world are racing to develop new strategies that use IoT technology to streamline municipal operations and services. While a majority of US cities are already implementing these solutions, another 25 percent are exploring potential IoT applications. On a global scale, the market value of smart city initiatives incorporating IoT and AI is expected to surpass $2 trillion by 2025, with the top 600 smart cities accounting for 60 percent of global GDP.

12. Nearly 90 Percent of Retailers Are Using or Planning to Use IoT to Customize Store Visits

Online shoppers have already come to expect a customized shopping experience thanks to data analytics that allow online retailers to use past purchases and viewing history to promote the type of products customers are likely to find appealing. Thanks to IoT technology, brick-and-mortar stores will soon be able to do the same. With RFID and beacon technologies, companies will be able to actively shape the customer experience the moment someone enters a store. Real-time data from smart price tags will allow stores to be more responsive to purchasing trends and make adjustments to maximize sales. According to PWC research, 58 percent of retailers are already utilizing IoT for a variety of active projects, with another 30 percent planning to do so within the next two years.

Coping With IoT Data

If the total number of connected devices doesn’t provide enough shock value, consider the vast amount of data these devices are expected to generate. Cisco expects that total to exceed 800 zettabytes, which is quite a lot considering that a single zettabyte is equal to about a trillion gigabytes (following the time example above, one trillion seconds is equal to about 31,710 years). 

Data centers will play a huge role in managing this information and harnessing its potential. Considering that about 90% of this data will be unstructured, it will be more important than ever for data centers to continue pushing the boundaries of both storage capacity and predictive analytics to keep pace with the demands of IoT.

While IoT devices are clearly already having an impact on the world’s network infrastructure, that influence is only going to increase in the coming years. By taking some of the current and projected figures into account, organizations can begin to position their business plans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities and mitigate the risks these devices present. No matter how a company plans to incorporate IoT, a good data center will continue to be a vital partner in that process.

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