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IDC: The Internet of Things Is Poised to Change Everything

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a new construct in the information and communications technology

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a new construct in the information and communications technology (ICT) world that is occupying the minds of IT vendors, service providers, and systems integrators as it represents huge potential for new streams of revenue and new customers. International Data Corporation (IDC) has looked at the components, processes, and supporting IT and connectivity for the Internet of Things and expects IoT technology and services spending to generate global revenues of $4.8 trillion in 2012 and $8.9 trillion by 2020, growing at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 7.9%.

"The momentum of the Internet of Things is driven by a number of factors. There is no doubt that business and consumer demand exists and will continue to expand for IoT solutions," said Vernon Turner, Senior Vice President of IDC's Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer, Network, Telecom, and Sustainability Research. "I expect the current IoT use cases are just the tip of the iceberg."

Some enablers to the rise of IoT include:

  • Ongoing development of smart cities, cars, and houses
  • Enhanced connectivity infrastructure
  • An increasingly connected culture

Even though there is growing demand for the IoT, there are still several factors inhibiting growth of this market. This is not to say that they can't be overcome, but at present, they are hurdles that both vendors and enterprises will have to overcome to make IoT a reality. Some of these challenges are on the supply side, including lack of standards, global scalability, and a nascent ecosystem for application development. On the demand side, the challenges include lack of awareness and other IT/mobility priorities.

Despite these challenges, IDC expects the installed base of the Internet of Things will be approximately 212 billion "things" globally by the end of 2020. This will include 30.1 billion installed "connected (autonomous) things" in 2020. This is largely driven by intelligent systems that will be installed and collecting data – across both consumer and enterprise applications – by the end of the forecast period.

"It is important to remember that while the market for the Internet of Things is still in its infancy, there is a long legacy of autonomous wired connected things," said Carrie MacGillivray, Program Vice President, Mobile Services, M2M & Network Infrastructure. "The enabler for increased growth over the forecast period is the pervasiveness of wireless connectivity and ubiquitous access to the Internet regardless of location."

IDC's newly published market analysis, Internet of Things (IoT) 2013 to 2020 Market Analysis: Billions of Things, Trillions of Dollars (IDC #243661), analyzes the worldwide opportunity for the burgeoning "Internet of Things" (IoT) market. It provides a market outlook for 2013 to 2020 and sets the forecast within the context of the IoT ecosystem, including the intelligent systems, connectivity services, platforms, analytics and vertical applications in addition to the security and professional services required to build out a complete picture. The study discusses the key market trends contributing to the growth of the IoT on a worldwide basis. A forecast of installed "things" and revenues are included in this document.

In addition, IDC recently published a related document, Internet of Things (IoT) Taxonomy, 2013 (IDC #243397), that provides the classifications and definitions for the major components that comprise the IoT market and therefore are covered within IDC's IoT research. All definitions and terminology are current as of October 2013.

About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 49 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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