The Internet Of Things Data Explosion
A decade ago, it likely seemed unthinkable that our refrigerators could tell us when we were running low on milk, our doorbells could record our visitors, and our audio speaker system could also “accidentally” order toys online. And yet, here we are in the era of the “Internet of Things”, sometimes abbreviated as IoT, where these sorts of devices have exploded in popularity and are literally everywhere.
The Internet of Things typically refers to adding network connectivity to everyday objects or devices that previously were not internet-enabled. As Tony Fadell, founder IoT trailblazing company Nest commented, a hallmark of the Internet of Things space is to work on “unloved” and sometimes “utilitarian” devices (think smoke detectors, doorbells, and other sensors) and add never-before-possible functionality via network connectivity.
And while consumer IoT has received a lot of attention with the prevalence of smart speakers, televisions, and household appliances, the Internet of Things has also arrived at the enterprise as companies are using the internet to track expensive assets and optimize logistics and manufacturing.
The growth of Internet of Things in terms of number of devices, revenue generated, and data produced has been stunning, but most predictions expect that growth to accelerate. The number of connected devices is expected to grow to 50 billion in 2020 (from 8.7 billion in 2012) and the annual revenue from IoT sales is forecast to hit $1.6 trillion by 2025 (from just $200 billion today).
But perhaps most notable of all, the amount of data produced by Internet of Things is expected to reach 4.4 zettabytes by 2020, from just 0.1 zettabytes in 2013.
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Before diving into the data, it’s worth spending a moment clarifying what we consider to be an Internet of Things device, and what isn’t. In this report, we adopt the definition that IoT devices are ones that were traditionally not connected to the internet (“dumb” devices), but are now network connected, enabling a new set of applications.
For example, even though smartphone phones and computers are Internet-enabled, we don’t consider them as IoT devices because they “traditionally” have been so. At the other end of the extreme, an internet-enabled toaster oven would be considered an Internet of Things device in this report because that appliance hasn’t typically been connected to a network.