The Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to 26 billion units by 2020, representing an almost 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009, as per IT research and advisory firm Gartner.
The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
The IoT product and service supplier, which excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services, in 2020. It will result in $1.9 trillion in global economic value-add through sales into diverse end markets.
"The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units," said Peter Middleton,research director at Gartner.
"In contrast, the IoT will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time," he added.
Gartner expects the "ghost" devices with unused connectivity to be common owing to the low cost of adding IoT capability to consumer products.
In addition, enterprises will make extensive use of IoT technology. There will be a wide range of products sold into various markets, such as advanced medical devices, factory automation sensors and applications in industrial robotics, sensor motes for increased agricultural yield, and automotive sensors and infrastructure integrity monitoring systems for diverse areas, such as road and railway transportation, water distribution and electrical transmission.
"By 2020, component costs will have come down to the point that connectivity will become a standard feature. This opens up the possibility of connecting; very simple to the very complex, to offer remote control, monitoring and sensing," said Mr. Middleton.
"Today, many categories of connected things in 2020 don't yet exist. As product designers dream up ways to exploit the inherent connectivity that will be offered in intelligent products, we expect the variety of devices offered to explode."
Emerging areas will witness rapid growth of connected things. IoT will also facilitate new business models such as usage-based insuranceother than supporting a large range of health and fitness services, connected sensor and generic technologies.