IoT devices to overtake smartphones by 2021

Before we reach 2021, there will be more internet-connected devices (IoT) than smartphones, Ericsson said in its latest Mobility Report.

Projected growth of these devices is 400 per cent in the next five years, with a total of 16 billion devices expected by that time.

One of the main drivers of adoption will be regulatory requirements, Ericsson argues, saying that things like smart utility meters will be leading the charge. Paired with a growing demand in internet-connected cars, and you get a significant spike in adoption.

"IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today,” said Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson.

But smartphones aren’t giving up without a fight, though. Before we reach the third quarter of this year, there will be more smartphones than basic phones in the world. In the next five years, the number of smartphone subscriptions will almost double, from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion. Still nowhere near the 16 billion projected IoT devices.

The uptake in smartphones is also changing TV viewing habits, especially among teens. According to the report, there’s been a 50 per cent drop in the time teenagers spend in front of a TV screen.

At the same time, there’s been an 85 per cent increase in those watching video and TV on a smartphone. The amount of cellular data spent watching video on a smartphone rose 127 per cent in the last 15 months, as well.

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