30 Billion to 50 Billion "Things" to be Connected by 2020?

There might be 30 billion to 50 billion Internet of Things (IoT) end-points by 2020, driving a total IoT market of up to $8.9 trillion, according to the GSA.

That represents huge numbers of new communications links, some of which might happen over non-paid connections such as Wi-Fi, but many of which will require mobile or other paid wireless connections. which explains the huge interest in IoT on the part of the mobile industry.

New developing markets, driving new communications standards and formats, typically begin with many different protocols contending, before markets pick commercial standards. That was true for videocassette recording formats, PC and smartphone operating systems, WiMAX and LTE mobile standards, for example.

GSA believes the same sort of winnowing process will happen for wireless IoT connections. Though it is conceivable that some new platforms will survive as niches, GSA believes mobile-based platforms ultimately will emerge as the mass market standards, for most applications.

With the caveat that one would expect GSA to say such things, mobile operators globally should be able to leverage their scale, over time. That is not to say mobile narrowband IoT standards will have the majority of sales in the early going. It is quite possible they will not.

Still, over time, scale should matter, as it typically does in the communications business.

The largest segments for IoT are consumer electronics, automotive and healthcare, GSA argues.


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