Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 per cent from this year. This translates to 5.5 million new things getting connected every day, says Gartner.
In 2020, Gartner forecasts a total of 20.8 billion connected things.
The analyst firm estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of US$235 billion in 2016, up 22 per cent from 2015.
Services are dominated by the professional category (in which businesses contract with external providers in order to design, install and operate IoT systems). However, connectivity services (through communications service providers) and consumer services will grow at a faster pace, says Gartner.
"IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organisations and vendors," explains Jim Tully, vice president at Gartner.
"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," he says.
IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organisations and vendors.
Read more: CIO Upfront: A primer for mastering ‘multi-speed IT’
Gartner estimates that 4 billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector in 2016, and will reach 13.5 billion in 2020.
In terms of hardware spending, consumer applications will amount to US$546 billion in 2016, while the use of connected things in the enterprise will drive $868 billion in 2016.Read more: 'When we get it right, IT is the sewage system of the 21st century'
In the enterprise, Gartner considers two classes of connected things. The first consists of generic or cross-industry devices that are used in multiple industries, and vertical-specific devices that are found in particular industries.
Cross-industry devices include connected light bulbs, HVAC and building management systems that are mainly deployed for purposes of cost saving.Read more: 2016 CIO100 research commences
The second class covers vertical-specific devices, such as specialised equipment used in hospital operating theatres and tracking devices in container ships.
"Connected things for specialised use are currently the largest category, however, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices,” notes Tully. “By 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise.”
Read more: Expert on call
When connected things become customers
One impact of the exponential growth of IoT is that by 2018, six billion of these connected things will be requesting support, reports Gartner in its Top Strategic Predictions for 2016 and Beyond: The Future Is a Digital Thing.
In the report, Gartner points out customer service organisations are already capable of taking support requests from connected things, like security systems that alert a security company that an alarm has been tripped.
“We also estimate that 47 per cent of devices will have the necessary intelligence to request support.Read more: 'CIOs must clearly demonstrate their own ability to change'
“Things everywhere, from connected vehicle engines to connected prostheses, will be requesting support from humans and human-managed businesses.
"Vending machines, vacuum cleaners, printers, air fresheners, security cameras, parking meters, soap dispensers and aircraft are a few examples of things that will be asking for repair, refill, and proactive maintenance in every industry — whether business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) — and every geography,” according to Gartner.
Gartner says organisations can prepare for this environment by having the chief digital officer, chief strategy officer and other key business leaders explore the strategic implications of "things as customers requesting service".
Learn how the technology works, says Gartner.Read more: No shortcuts to becoming a digital business
“Consider the systems that are needed for coordination and orchestration, and think about how your enterprise will fit in that ecosystem, especially with regard to customer service.”
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