22 billion IoT devices and counting – but revenue for operators remains uncertain

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The number of devices connected to the internet reached 22 billion worldwide at the end of 2018, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) remains the leading segment, accounting for more than half of the market, with mobile/computing at just over a quarter, according to the analysis.

The Global Connected and IoT Device Forecast Update report predicts, however, that the home market will be the fastest-growing segment over the coming years, driven by further rapid growth in smart home adoption, particularly in as-yet untapped regions.

The report concludes that the IoT revenue opportunity remains uncertain, particularly for service providers, and that companies looking to benefit from the IoT should give most consideration to which target segments, business activities and revenue models they should prioritise.

50 billion devices by 2030

The report predicts that 38.6 billion devices will be connected by 2025, and 50 billion by 2030. Some segments, such as connected computing devices, will see low growth or decline, while others, such as media devices, will continue to expand steadily. Growth rates for wearable devices and connected vehicles are predicted to remain positive, although volumes will be modest relative to other segments.

David Mercer, Principal Analyst at Strategy Analytics and author of the report, commented, “Service providers may look at the vast scale of the internet of things and assume that revenues will automatically flow in their direction.

It remains to be seen precisely which applications and services will drive revenue growth, and how much. Furthermore, more research is needed to understand how this ecosystem will evolve to meet the needs of tomorrow’s consumers.”