The global market for the Internet of things and the supporting ecosystem is expected to exceed $7.1 trillion by next year. In 2013 alone, the market exceeded $1.9 trillion, with over 90% of all IoT devices in developed regions.
Estimates range from 25 to 50 billion individual connected devices by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 17.5%. [ Goldman Sachs ]
We are experiencing a vast influx of connected devices, no question. However, the Internet of things is not simply a collection of edge devices. There are enterprise and consumer applications, industrial automation, and an entire stack of infrastructure supporting those devices.
WAVES OF EXPANSION
NICT believe that the Internet of things (IoT) is the most revolutionary expansion of computing since the dawn of the personal computer. The Things themselves are a forerunner of the Internet's Third Wave.
The First Wave was the prevalence of desktop connectivity. The Second Wave was the rapid connection of more screens, including laptops, mobile and tablets. The Third Wave is the expansion of connectivity to everything else, for both industrial and consumer use. Early indicators of this are the rise of cloud computing, the development of low power wireless technologies such as LoRa, and the rise of connected objects.
A number of significant technology changes have come together to enable the rise of the IoT. These include the following.
Cheaper sensors – Sensor prices have dropped an 50X percent in the past 10 years.
Cheaper bandwidth – The cost of bandwidth has also declined precipitously, by a factor of nearly 40X over the past 10 years.
Cheaper data processing – Similarly, processing costs have declined by nearly 60X over the past 10 years, enabling more devices to be not just connected, but smart enough to know what to do with all the new data they are generating or receiving.
Smartphone security – Smartphones are now becoming the personal gateway to the IoT, serving as a remote control or hub for the connected home, connected car, or the health and fitness devices consumers are increasingly starting to wear.
Ubiquitous wireless coverage – With Wi-Fi coverage now ubiquitous, wireless connectivity is available for free or at a very low cost, given Wi-Fi utilizes unlicensed spectrum and thus does not require monthly access fees to a carrier.
Big data – As the IoT will by definition generate voluminous amounts of unstructured data, the availability of big data analytics is a key enabler.
IPv6 – Most networking equipment supports IPv6, the newest version of the Internet Protocol (IP) standard that is intended to replace IPv4. IPv4 supports 32-bit addresses, which translates to about 4.3 billion addresses – a number that has become largely exhausted by all the connected devices globally. In contrast, IPv6 can support 128-bit addresses, translating to approximately 3.4 x 1038 addresses – an almost limitless number that can amply handle all conceivable IoT devices.