10 Mind-Boggling Figures that Describe the Internet of Things (IoT)

Adam Hughes
From smart fridges to smart cities, the Internet of Things is really big.

Whatever the Internet of Things (IoT) is today could be much different just weeks from now. And predictions about the size and the impact that IoT will have on business vary greatly. After all, the extent to which IoT is forecast to impact society is constantly changing in scope – usually in terms of how much further that extent is estimated to be.

That’s because IoT has always fluctuated with other technology. IoT grows as the cloud grows; IoT expands as network capabilities expand; IoT scales as data analytic tools scale; and so on.

The best example of this is the refrigerator. In the early 2000s, LG released an internet-connected refrigerator that was basically a $20,000 350-pound computer with limited capabilities. Fast-forward through many variations of the IoT refrigerator to 2018, where Samsung’s smart fridge not only tracks stored contents and expiration dates, but also connects to an app with voice-recognition to help order new items.

This constant iteration over the last 10 years shows how IoT is still in its early stages, especially with companies hastily pushing out IoT products that offer inconsistent and/or redundant technology as well as dubious value and, more importantly, security measures.

But despite its premature shortcomings, IoT is proving to be more than just a buzzword or a passing technology fad. It’s already becoming the biggest data source in the world. In fact, a study by Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, predicts that more than half of global organizations will be using IoT in some variation for new business processes and systems by 2020.

And these numbers attest to that.

IoT By the Numbers

1. The global IoT market

2014: $2.99 trillion ⇒  2020: $8.90 trillion

What it means: Well, the $6 trillion surge speaks for itself: There’s need for all things IoT. And as the IoT technology in products have improved, so has the demand. Data integration from different cyber, physical, and social means in IoT allows for smarter app and service development.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/512673/worldwide-internet-of-things-market/

2. The number of connected devices worldwide

2018: 23.14 billion ⇒  2025: 75.44 billion

What it means: Devices are continually offering better design, implementation, and operation for connected systems and ecosystems. And with services growing and as more apps emerge, costs for devices drop while the production jumps.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/

3. Global number of RFID tags

2018: 17.6 billion ⇒  2020: 24.5 billion

What it means: What is RFID? It stands for radio-frequency identification. So, what’s that got to do with IoT? Well, IoT has put these tags at the forefront of the supply chain and logistics industries providing real-time insight into the movement of goods and impacting the efficacy and transparency of global trade. RFID tags are embedded with specific information and attached to objects in order to track location and provide visibility to the transfer of the associated product.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/299966/size-of-the-global-rfid-market/

4. Worldwide spending on third party connectivity for IoT

2018: $742.6 million ⇒  2020: $1.18 billion

What it means: Investors will keep pouring cash into IoT projects, which has not only unlocked opportunities for connected business partners, but also calls for all devices to be connected at some point.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/626353/third-party-iot-connectivity-global-revenues/

5. Number of M2M connections

2018: 1.5 billion ⇒  2020: 2.6 billion

What it means: M2M (machine-to-machine) technology enables devices to communication and connect with one another without or very limited human interference. And as stated before, devices will continue to be developed to connect and communicate with other devices in an automated way, sharing information and data.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/487280/global-m2m-connections/

6. B2B IoT market size

2015: $195 billion ⇒  2020: $470 billion

What it means: The B2B market segment is projected to drive significant revenue and includes system integration, data services and analytics, networks, devices, and legacy embedded systems. With the explosion of data and data sources through the B2B ecosystem, organizations will continue to base integration on technologies that deliver multi-enterprise collaboration to maintain communication among partners, customers, suppliers, data lakes, and other external networks.

Source: http://www2.bain.com/Images/iot-of-industrials-fig01_full.gif

7. Business investment in IoT

2015: $215 billion ⇒  2020: $832 billion

What it means: Spending on anything IoT-related has been apparent. So, predicting a $600 billion boom over five years isn’t surprising. Everything from smart home appliances to work automation tools, investing in IoT is almost a given among business practices for companies that want to see growth and an improved bottom line.

Source: https://www.pwc.fr/fr/assets/files/pdf/2017/03/2017_ai_and_iot_v13b.pdf

8. IoT spending in the transportation and logistics industry 

2015: $10 billion ⇒  2020: $40 billion

What it means: Transportation and logistics companies will obviously keep taking strides in profitability, productivity, and overall operations efficiencies through technological advancement. RFID adoption, often in conjunction with traditional line-of-sight technology offers a potentially data-rich supply chain that leads to insight-based decision making. However, new data sources present new challenges when it comes to accessing, ingesting, and utilizing the data for business purposes. Currently, integration solutions hold a lot of promise for helping address the challenges of IoT. With a mix of existing legacy technology and IoT-specific applications, enterprises can leverage edge computing and data that’s transported to a centralized cloud network to enable decentralized, multi-enterprise communications that are vital supply chain and logistics companies.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/666864/iot-spending-by-vertical-worldwide/

9. Projected IoT economic impact

Range by 2025: $3.9 trillion ⇔  $11.1 trillion

What it means: With more than $7 trillion dollars between the low and high end of these estimates, the figures highlight the scale of unknown factors in accessing the success and extent of adoption of the Internet of Things. At the high end, $11.1 trillion dollars represents around 11 percent of the world economy, underlining the massive scale of its ultimate impact. The McKinsey forecast includes influences across many global industries and regions. But IoT is benefiting from improvements to technology infrastructures and the ability to more easily connect devices. The McKinsey study adds that power requirements, costs, and the development of more integrated solutions affect projections.

Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/semiconductors/our-insights/whats-new-with-the-internet-of-things

10. Percentage of enterprises adopting IoT

2017: 30% ⇒  2020: 65%

What it means: This all comes down to the enterprise ability to exploit the Internet of Things for market advantage. First of all, IT and business leaders need to consider the extent to which this type of technology can be utilized to improve ROI, market competitiveness, and brand differentiation. Secondly, as the market matures, questions around digital security of potential sensitive personal and corporate data will be addressed. Finally, the internal competency center required to implement and leverage devices will find that the necessary skillset becomes less rare. As a result, adoption is tied to the cost-benefit analysis of the ability to exploit this technology either as product or a as a way to improve the business.

Source: https://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/books/iot/iotEbook_digital.pdf

Why IoT Requires Integration

All these massive IoT-related facts and figures bring to mind a quote from data analytics expert and author Bernard Marr: “Companies already can’t cope with the data they have today, let alone the data that is around the corner.”

In other words: What good is IoT adoption if you can’t tap the vast amount of data being generated for potential insight?

Oil companies around the world were asking themselves that same exact question. In 2015, a report by McKinsey & Company found that more than 99 percent of data from 30,000 oil rig sensors, which tracked drilling, production, and rig maintenance, somehow wasn’t reaching operational and industry decision makers.

If you flip that number, less than 1 percent of the data generated on the smart oil field was being used, resulting in lost production insight and, ultimately, lost revenue. That’s certainly a stark figure, and one that underscores the hazard of IoT that’s missing solutions for data access, aggregation, and ingestion, highlighting the need for digital transformation and integration infrastructures as a foundation to fully support IoT devices. And it further emphasizes the need to gather, store, and analyze data that will provide perspective and assist operational improvement over time.

As innovative and disruptive as IoT has become on a global scale, there’s more to it. The truth of the matter is that for businesses to take advantage of IoT, they must create and invest in an underlying IT infrastructure required to securely and reliably handle the data. And there’s value to doing so. According to the industry analyst firm, Forrester, a 10-percent bump in accessing data can result in an ROI increase of $65 million net income for a large-scale company.

When it comes to IoT, what makes the technology important isn’t necessarily the actual device. It all comes down to the data that these devices generate. For organizations to properly take advantage of that data, IT personnel and business influencers must be able to access, analyze, and implement the insight that data has to offer. And that requires a blend of traditional and modern integration technology and infrastructure.



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