Press Release

Barcelona, Spain, November 11, 2014 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says 4.9 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use in 2015

In 2020, 25 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use

Analysts to Explore the Disruptive Impact of IoT on Business at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014, November 9-13 in Barcelona, Spain

Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT)* has become a powerful force for business transformation, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society. 

“The digital shift instigated by the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, social and information), and boosted by IoT, threatens many existing businesses. They have no choice but to pursue IoT, like they’ve done with the consumerization of IT,” said Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. 

This sudden expansion will boost the economic impact of the IoT as consumers, businesses, city authorities, hospitals and many other entities find new ways in which to exploit the technology. Gartner estimates that IoT will support total services spending of $69.5 billion in 2015 and $263 billion by 2020. 

Consumer applications will drive the number of connected things, while enterprise will account for most of the revenue. Gartner estimates that 2.9 billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector in 2015 and will reach over 13 billion in 2020 (see Table 1). The automotive sector will show the highest growth rate at 96 percent in 2015. 

Table 1: Internet of Things Units Installed Base by Category

Category

2013

2014

2015

2020

Automotive

96.0

189.6

372.3

3,511.1

Consumer

1,842.1

2,244.5

2.874.9

13,172.5

Generic Business

395.2

479.4

623.9

5,158.6

Vertical Business

698.7

836.5

1,009.4

3,164.4

Grand Total

3,032.0

3,750.0

4,880.6

25,006.6

Source: Gartner (November 2014)

From an industry perspective, manufacturing, utilities and transportation will be the top three verticals using IoT in 2015 – all together they will have 736 million connected things in use. By 2020, the ranking will change with utilities in the No. 1 spot, manufacturing will be second and government will be third, totaling 1.7 billion IoT units installed. “Government will take the No. 3 spot as it invests in smart street and area lighting for energy saving reasons,” said Mr. Tully. “Utilities will move to the No. 1 position because of investment in smart meters.”

Connected things, such as automated teller machines and airline check-in machines, have previously existed. But, new and novel devices, and many ordinary objects, are also being reinvented with digital sensing, computing and communications capabilities. This functionality provides both new and previously passive objects with a "digital voice", and the ability to create and deliver an information stream reflecting their status and that of their surrounding environment. Such developments radically change the value proposition, creating new services and usage scenarios and driving new business models.

It is likely that within the next few years, some level of built-in intelligence and connectivity will be regarded as standard, and this will rapidly filter down to mainstream products and services. “However, CIOs must understand that the most disruptive impact and competitive threats — and, equally, the greatest competitive opportunities — arise not from simply digitalizing a product or service, but from creating a new business model and value proposition,” said Steve Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“Organizations must straddle the tension of all the information available from smart things by balancing their desire to collect and analyze it with the risk of its loss or misuse,” Mr. Prentice said.

The IoT highlights the tight linkages between information security, information technology security, operational technology security and physical security like never before. Executives now face a decision regarding the future of security in their enterprise and who governs, manages and operates it. Gartner said that by the end of 2017, over 20 per cent of organizations will have digital security services devoted to protecting business initiatives using devices and services in IoT.

The IoT will bring into the digital security architecture dozens of new platform options, hundreds of variations on hybrid IT/IoT integration, new standards per industry, and a new view of an application. IT leaders will have to accommodate the differences in technologies across those areas and develop a multifaceted technology approach to IoT risk and security. In addition, with some machines producing enormous amounts of data and other sensors sending a handful of bits per day or week, IT leaders will need to balance digital business requirements with digital security realities.

“The number of connected intelligent devices will continue to grow exponentially, giving ’smart things’ the ability to sense, interpret, communicate and negotiate, and effectively have a digital ‘voice’," said Mr. Prentice. “CIOs must look for opportunities to create new services, usage scenarios and business models based on this growth.”

* Notes to editors:

The IoT is the network of dedicated physical objects (things) that contain embedded technology to sense or interact with their internal state or external environment. The IoT comprises an ecosystem that includes things, communication, applications and data analysis.

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

Additional information about Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014 in Barcelona is available at www.gartnerevent.com/eu/sym.Video replays of keynotes and sessions are available on Gartner Events on Demand at www.gartnerondemand.com.

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To register for the final Symposium/ITxpo event this year in Gold Coast, Australia, November 17-20, visit www.gartner.com/au/symposium.

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Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 7,900 associates, including more than 1,700 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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