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Gartner: Internet of Things to hit 26 billion units by 2020

The Internet of Things [IoT] will far outstrip smartphone, tablets and PCs over the coming years as the installed base is set to hit 26 billion units by 2020 as the market continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.

Research from analyst house Gartner shows that the market will grow 30-fold from 2009, when there were just 900 million units installed, and incremental revenue will exceed $300 billion by 2020.

"The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units," said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner. "In contrast, the IoT will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time.”

Gartner thinks that “ghost” devices with IoT capabilities that need to be activated using software will become common and expects large numbers of consumer products to include this type of technology.

Enterprises will be one of the largest groups to start embracing IoT technology with a varied range of products including advanced medical devices, factory automation sensors, applications in industrial robotics, sensors motes for increased agricultural yields, and automotive sensors and infrastructure integrity monitoring systems.

"The fact is, that today, many categories of connected things in 2020 don't yet exist. As product designers dream up ways to exploit the inherent connectivity that will be offered in intelligent products, we expect the variety of devices offered to explode,” Mr Middleton added.

Gartner estimates that the amount of value businesses will be able to raise as a result of IoT devices will reach $1.9 trillion in 2022 and that currently manufacturing [15 per cent], healthcare [15 per cent] and insurance [11 per cent] are leading the way when it comes to IoT adoption.