Connected devices by 2020: why so many projections?

How many IoT devices will there be by 2020? The answer is not just a number, it is an understanding of what can be called a connected device, how technologies will evolve and how fast they can be adopted.

Many more issues are related to the number. First, can IoT be just about things without the internet? A UN report says that 90% of unconnected people are in developing world. So, the predictions are not just about businesses but also governments.

Second, the other half of these ‘things’ is data, where will all this data be stored? Are there storage projections that can be correlated with device predictions?

Third, related to the number as issues about consumer and enterprise usage. It is understood that enterprise spending will be much more while consumer adoption numbers may be higher. So, that brings us to the matter of devices, connectivity, and IT services. I am not sure if there a breakdown of modules and sensors, application software, purpose-built platforms and SAAS so far.

Fourth, at the heart of the matter is what an IoT device is. Projections have differed based on whether they have included smartphones, tablets, and computers. Gartner and IDC don’t count such devices while IHS does.

Then, there is the issue of revisions.

  • IBM forecasted 1 trillion connected devices by 2015. That was in 2012.
  • Ericsson lowered its figure of 50 billion by 2020 to 28 billion by 2021.

There are many more instances of the same. So, why do you think there is a lack of consensus and what’s your take on the forecasts?


​ is currently working on a report on IoT. She will lead the discussion.

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