SAN JOSE, Calif. — Forget the 50 billion devices on the Internet by 2020 as preached by networking giant Cisco Systems. That over-quoted fantasy projection includes all PCs, smartphones, tablets and probably a few iKitchen sinks.
At his first event dedicated to the Internet of Things, Linley Gwennap will roll out his own forecast. The veteran market watcher estimates 1.9 billion new IoT devices will ship in 2020, up from about 200 million annual shipping today, mainly in the industrial space.
“I tried to look at new end applications instead of just making a big number – it’s more of a bottoms-up look,” said Gwennap, principal of The Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.). He leavened his projections with real-world stats on, for example, the global middle class population (about two billion) and the number of homes with WiFi and broadband (about 600 million).
The forecast assumes the industrial IoT is already in its heyday. For example, more than 300 million smart meters are installed already, and new systems are being deployed wherever there’s a solid business case in everything from parking lots to irrigated farm fields.
Consumer market won’t see a significant uptick for a couple years yet, however. “I’m forecasting today’s consumer devices [such as $200+ smart thermostats] come down to $50 in a couple years and take off,” he said.
The IoT is already well served by a dozen major vendors that combine a processor and a radio on SoCs, Gwennap noted in a new report on the sector. “There are actually a lot of companies shipping these integrated processors,” Gwennap said.
“Broadcom and Marvel have taken existing wireless chips and put microcontrollers into them,” he said. “Atmel, Freescale and STMicroelectronics have taken micros and added radios to them; Qualcomm and MediaTek have come at this from their smartphone SoCs; and Toshiba and TI have products,” he added.
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