How Many "IoT" Devices Already are in Use?

Is it possible there already are as many as 27 billion internet of things devices already in use globally? Most of us would say “no way.” But it all depends on the definitions one uses for “internet of things.” Some definitions arguably are too broad.

For example, there is a difference between “connected devices” and “internet of things” devices. There might be 16 billion mobile phones and PCs--all “connected”--in use in 2017. But that seems to stretch the definition of IoT too far.

Using a more narrow definition, where IoT does not refer to mobile phones, PCs, tablets, IoT would include all manner of sensors other than phones, PCs and tablets that communicate. Using that narrower definition, there might well be as many as 10 billion IoT devices already in use, including more than four billion industrial and commercial sensors. Medical devices and sensors used in transportation also might represent about a billion more IoT sensors.


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