Enterprises to invest heavily in IoT

The rate of growth in the deployment of connected devices worldwide will increase slightly in 2017 as both consumers and businesses embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), a new study shows.

Research firm Gartner said it expects 8.4 billion IoT devices to be in use by the end of this year, up 31% from the estimated 6.4 billion IoT devices connected at the end last year. Gartner had forecast 30% growth in use of IoT devices in 2016.

By 2020, Gartner predicted, there will be 20.4 billion connected “things” worldwide.

Though nearly two-thirds of IoT devices (63%) connected this year will be aimed at the consumer market — things such as smart TVs, digital set-top boxes and in-car devices — the number of IoT devices used by enterprises will more than triple to 7.5 billion in 2020 from 2.4 billion in 2016.

Further, enterprises already are spending more on IoT than consumers: 57% of the $1.7 trillion expected to be spent on IoT endpoint devices this year, or $964 billion, will come from enterprises. That number should rise to $1.4 billion by 2020, the research firm said.

However, there’s more to the Internet of Things than connected hardware, Gartner research director Denise Rueb said.

“IoT services are central to the rise in IoT devices,” she said. “Total IoT services spending (professional, consumer and connectivity services) is on pace to reach $273 billion in 2017.”

While Gartner didn’t break down total IoT services spending by sector, Rueb said, “Services are dominated by the professional IoT-operational technology category in which providers assist businesses in designing, implementing and operating IoT systems. Connectivity services are growing robustly as costs drop, and new applications emerge.”

There’s a lot of money at stake, so clearly enterprises must develop realistic IoT strategies that allow them to make intelligent purchasing and deployment decisions. Otherwise they’re just spending money on “things.”


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