Gartner: 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ in use worldwide in 2017

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Gartner expects 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ to be in use in 2017, up 31% from the year before, according to the analyst house’s latest prognostication.

The company’s previous figure of 20.8 billion connected things by 2020 – possibly the most frequently cited Internet of Things (IoT) statistic of them all – has been revised slightly downwards, to 20.4 billion, while total spending on endpoints and services will hit almost $2 trillion this year.

Gartner also confirmed something the industry has known for a while; despite the consumer side of IoT being arguably a more attractive proposition, the B2B arm is where the money is at right now. Combining cross-industry and vertical-specific spend, business will hit $964 billion compared to $725bn for consumer in 2017. Yet by 2020, Gartner predicts consumer to go ahead, with $1.494 trillion compared to business’ paltry $1.431tn.

This comes amidst a much greater influx of consumer IoT unit installs; by 2020, Gartner expects this to be 12.9 billion, compared to 7.5bn for the business side. “IoT services are central to the rise in IoT devices,” said Denise Rueb, Gartner research director in a statement. “Services are dominated by the professional IoT-operational technology category in which providers assist businesses in designing, implementing and operating IoT systems. However, connectivity services and consumer services will grow at a faster pace.

“Consumer IoT services are newer and growing off a small base. Similarly, connectivity services are growing robustly as costs drop, and new applications emerge,” added Rueb.

Elsewhere, a study from HCL Technologies has found a lack of coordination in enterprises adopting the Internet of Things. Of the more than 250 survey respondents – who were subjected to a ‘rigorous multi-level screening process’ in order to prove they were serious about IoT before they participated – almost half (49%) said an uncoordinated and siloed approach was keeping their organisation in the pilot stage, while a similar number (50%) said they were already behind the curve.

“Many companies have made inroads into the IoT, but when you peel away the layers, very few have embarked on truly transformative programs,” said Sukamal Banerjee, HCL executive vice president. “Success depends on an enterprise-wide IoT strategy that centralises a significant portion of the data from connected assets onto a single platform, where it can be used to generate revenues and new opportunities.

“It is only by doing so that they will reach the ultimate goals of IoT: organisational efficiency, more profitable business models and competitive edge.”

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