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The Internet of Things is about to get a whole lot bigger, according to the latest forecast from technology market research firm Gartner.
In 2016, the IoT will grow at a rate of 5.5 million 'things' each day, encompassing a total of nearly 6.4 billion connected devices, a 30 percent gain over this year's expected total of 4.9 billion devices. By 2020, that figure will shoot up to 20.7 billion units.
IoT services spending will jump 22 percent next year, reaching $235 billion. "IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organizations and vendors," said Gartner vice president Jim Tully in a statement.
"Aside from connected cars, consumer uses will continue to account for the greatest number of connected things, while enterprise will account for the largest spending," Tully added. The consumer sector will employ 4 billion connected things in 2016 and reach 13.5 billion devices in 2020.
Enterprise IoT hardware spending will reach $868 billion next year, Gartner predicted. And while they'll snap up more things, consumer spending will come in at $546 billion in 2016.
By 2020, however, consumers will take the lead.
Consumers are expected to drive $1.53 trillion in IoT hardware spending by 2020. Businesses won't be far behind with $1.47 trillion in IoT hardware.
Over the next few years, changing market conditions will favor vendors that produce devices that can be used by a variety of businesses, indicates Gartner's data.
"Connected things for specialized use are currently the largest category, however, 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," Tully said.
In 2016, Gartner expects that 1.27 billion vertical-specific devices, like specialized electronics used in hospital operation rooms, and 1.09 billion cross-industry devices will be helping businesses run their operations. By 2020, those numbers will reach 2.8 billion and 4.4 billion respectively.
Meanwhile, CIOs will be grappling with securing and managing their things.
Over 20 percent of enterprises are implementing IoT security services that protect their businesses, Gartner said in September. "The IoT now penetrates to the edge of the physical world and brings an important new 'physical' element to security concerns. This is especially true as billions of things begin transporting data," said Gartner research vice president Ganesh Ramamoorthy in a statement at the time.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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