Gartner says 8.4 billion connected things were in commercial use globally in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, a fact that might surprise many, as the internet of things often is viewed as a “future” business.
By 2020 there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices in use.
Today, consumer use cases represent perhaps 63 percent of IoT usage, at 5.2 billion units.
Total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion in 2017. "Aside from automotive systems, the applications that will be most in use by consumers will be smart TVs and digital set-top boxes, while smart electric meters and commercial security cameras will be most in use by businesses," said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner.
In addition to smart meters, applications tailored to specific industry verticals (including manufacturing field devices, process sensors for electrical generating plants and real-time location devices for healthcare) drove the use of connected things among businesses through 2017, with 1.6 billion units deployed.
Regionally, Greater China, North America and Western Europe are driving the use of connected things and the three regions together will represent 67 percent of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) installed base in 2017.
IoT Units Installed Base by Category (Millions of Units)
From 2018 onwards, cross-industry devices, such as those targeted at smart buildings (including LED lighting, HVAC and physical security systems) will take the lead as connectivity is driven into higher-volume, lower cost devices.
In 2020, cross-industry devices will reach 4.4 billion units, while vertical-specific devices will amount to 3.2 billion units, Gartner predicts.
While consumers purchase more devices, businesses spend more. In 2017, in terms of hardware, the use of connected things among businesses will drive $964 billion worth of activity.
Consumer applications will amount to $725 billion in 2017. By 2020, hardware spending from both segments will reach almost $3 trillion.
IoT Endpoint Spending by Category (Millions of Dollars)
Total IoT services spending (professional, consumer and connectivity services) is on pace to reach $273 billion in 2017, Gartner also predicts.