Internet of Things Means Wireless-Device Growth Will Go Crazy

The number of active wireless connected devices will be a staggering 16 billion by the end of the year — about 20 percent more than a year ago.

That’s according to new stats from ABI Research, which says the number of devices will more than double by 2020, to almost 41 billion. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a big reason why.

“The driving force behind the surge in connections is that usual buzzword suspect, the Internet of Things (IoT),” said Aapo Markkanen, principal analyst with ABI. “If we look at this year’s installed base, smartphones, PCs and other ‘hub’ devices represent still 44 percent of the active total, but by [the] end [of] 2020 their share is set to drop to 32 percent. In other words, 75 percent of the growth between today and the end of the decade will come from non-hub devices: sensor nodes and accessories.”

The critical question is how this plethora of IoT devices will ultimately be connected. Until recently, the choices that product manufacturers have faced have been fairly straightforward, with cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and others all generally addressing their relative comfort zones, ABI noted. Going forward, they will be in an increasing competition with each other, so for the suppliers the strategic stakes are getting much higher.

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