As many as 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.
Gartner estimates that by 2016 alone, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.
The research analyst firm forecasts that the Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $US235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015.
Of this, services are dominated by the professional category - in which businesses contract with external providers in order to design, install and operate IoT systems - however connectivity services (through communications service providers) and consumer services will grow at a faster pace.
“IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organisations and vendors,” says Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner.
Tully believes the time has now arrived for enterprises to bolster IoT revenue, in 2016 and beyond.
“Aside from connected cars, consumer uses will continue to account for the greatest number of connected things, while enterprise will account for the largest spending,” Tully predicts.
As a result, Gartner estimates that four billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector in 2016, and will reach 13.5 billion in 2020.
In terms of hardware spending, consumer applications will amount to $US546 billion in 2016, while the use of connected things in the enterprise will drive $US868 billion in 2016.
In the enterprise, Gartner considers two classes of connected things.
The first class consists of generic or cross-industry devices that are used in multiple industries, and vertical-specific devices that are found in particular industries.
Cross-industry devices include connected light bulbs, HVAC and building management systems that are mainly deployed for purposes of cost saving.
The second class includes vertical-specific devices, such as specialised equipment used in hospital operating theatres, tracking devices in container ships, and many others.
“Connected things for specialised use are currently the largest category, however, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices,” Tully adds.
“By 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise.”