According to the recently released edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report, by the end of the year 2021, we should expect to see 16 billion devices to join the Internet of Things (IoT).
For those who might still be unsure of what IoT is, the term refers to a network of connected devices, i.e. physical objects which are able to connect/communicate to other devices. These IoT devices connect to one another through integrated sensors and can range from anything such as a fridge, a vehicle, a building, and even an entire city!
If data in the report is correct, we will see IoT become the largest category of connected devices by the year 2018, meaning that it will overtake mobile phones. The report detailed that in the years between 2015 and 2021, IoT devices are expected to increase by approximately 23% on an annual basis.
To break this down somewhat, mobile IoT devices have been forecast to have the highest rate of growth, and there are expected to be 28 billion devices connected by 2021, with 16 billion of these being IoT.
The report also showed that Western Europe is expected to lead the way with connected IoT devices, with projections approximating that this market will increase by 400% by 2021. It is thought that regulatory requirements will drive this growth, for instance the growing demand for cars to be connected, via the EU eCall regulation. This regulation means that every new car should have eCall technology installed from April 2018. In the event of the car being involved in an, the eCall technology will automatically dial Europe’s single emergency number = 112.
Ericsson’s Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Rima Qureshi, gave the following explanation as to why IoT is increasing at such a high rate: “IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”
Subscriptions for smartphones are continuing to increase at a huge rate – with the report detailing that there are now 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world. It has been predicted that these subscriptions will actually overtake those for traditional phones in quarter three of 2016 and by the year 2021 smartphones subscriptions are predicted to increase from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion!
There is no doubt at all that with its exponential growth, the Internet of Things is going to provide a lot of opportunity for people and businesses, as well as a lot of disruption, over the next two to five years.