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There will be 13.5 billion connected "things" by 2020

The end of 2016 is just a year away, and by that time, the world will have approximately 6.4 billion "things” connected to the Web. During next year, there will be four billion such devices, the company says, adding that by 2020, the figure will swell to 13.5 billion.

Those are the predictions of market analyst Gartner, predicting a jump of 30 per cent in the Internet of Thigns (IoT) industry. These "things” that will get online are toasters, refrigerators, light switches, but also medical equipment, security systems and cars.

As a result, the growing Internet of Things will support total services spending of $235bn (£154bn) in 2016, up 22 per cent from 2015.

Most of the money will be spent in the “professional category”, as Gartner puts it, which basically means businesses will not implement the IT themselves, but will instead hire external contractors to order, design, install and operate IoT systems.

Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said: "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."

There are two classes of connected things when it comes to enterprise computing, Gartner says, distinguishing generic cross-industry devices, used in multiple industries and vertical-specific devices found in particular industries.

"Connected things for specialised use are currently the largest category," said Tully. "However, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices [and] by 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise."