Although a revolution in and of itself, the internet has also birthed a large number of other technology revolutions. From smartphones to Wikipedia, the Internet as a medium has resulted in a complete and total transformation of societies worldwide.
Among the most recent developments owing its existence to the internet is the “Internet of Things”, or IoT. This is a new term and concept applied to devices that work together in an interconnected way to gather information, often to better automate processes, and to create a more cohesive and informed user experience.
IoT encompasses a growing number of tech products, including smart home devices like Google Home and the Amazon Alexa-powered Echo, to smart refrigerators that can create grocery lists for you. Most studies and researchers, however, count any internet-connected device as part of the “Internet of Things”.
In very simple terms, IoT is about attempting to connect pretty much everything in the world to the internet in some way. From a technical standpoint, however, the “Internet of Things” can be defined, at least by Cisco, as the “the point in time when more ‘things or objects’ were connected to the Internet than people”. According to Cisco, that point was reached around 2008-2009.
A decade of being immersed in IoT means there are big numbers to show for it. And with more devices connected to the web than people (over 4.7 billion web users as of April 2021), the growth of IoT has produced some surprising data and stats to explore.
IoT at a glance
Considering IoT is primarily about the number of devices connected to the internet, these stats demonstrate how large the Internet of Things has grown.
- In 2018, the number of connected IoT devices hit 12 billion, surpassing the 10 billion that was originally estimated. (Source: IOT Analytics)
- Gartner predicts a larger amount of “connected things” moving forward. According to Gartner, there will be over 25 billion connected devices by the end of 2021. (Source: Gartner)
- A large majority of the IoT is made up of smartphones. In fact, the total number of smartphone users topped 3 billion in 2018 and 7.9 billion in 2020. (Source: Newzoo, Ericsson)
- Ericsson predicts that smartphones will account for almost 9 billion internet-connected devices by 2024. (Source: Ericsson Mobility Report)
- Most IoT devices are those we’re using at home, or at work. As of 2018, over half of all IoT devices were connected to Wireless Personal Area Networks, such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. (Source: IOT Analytics)
- The global IoT market was worth over $150 billion in 2018 and is expected to exceed $1.5 trillion by 2025. (Source: IOT Analytics)
- Smart home devices are and will continue to be a major component of IoT. Over 800 million smart home devices were shipped in 2020, an increase of 4.5% over 2019. Shipments are predicted to exceed 1.4 billion by 2025. (Source: International Data Corporation)
- Almost 70% of American households have at least one smart home device. (Source: Consumer Technology Association)
- The number of smart home devices purchased is expected to exceed 1.94 billion by 2023, with device sales exceeding $78 billion by that time as well. (Source: Strategy Analytics)
- “Smart cities” are a major and emerging concept in IoT. Over one-fifth of all publicly announced IoT projects involve IoT-driven “smart cities” of some kind, with most of these “smart cities” (43 percent) announced in North America. (Source: IoT Analytics)
- Over a quarter of all cyberattacks against businesses will be IoT-based by 2025. (Source: Gartner)
- The need for data science specialists is expected to grow far beyond the number of specialists on the market, thanks in no small part to IoT. By 2020, the lack of data science specialists was predicted to prevent three-fourths of all businesses from maximizing their IoT goals. (Source: Gartner)
- By 2020, there will be almost 3 internet-connected devices for every human on the planet. (Source: Gartner)
Healthcare IoT stats
The healthcare industry has been a rapid adopter of IoT technology. This comes with many advantages and many risks. But the overall size and complexity of the market is a perfect example of the transformative power of IoT in a single, important industry.
- The healthcare IoT market is expected to be worth 534.3 billion by 2025. (Source: Grand View Research, Inc.)
- North America was the largest market for IoT, with a revenue share of 37% as of the end of 2019. (Source: Grand View Research, Inc.)
- The EU had around 870,000 active healthcare IoT devices in 2016, and a predicted 5.71 million devices by the end of 2020. ETNO expects there to be almost 12 million healthcare IoT connections in Europe by 2026. (Source: ETNO)
- By the end of 2019, 86 percent of healthcare organizations were using IoT devices. That’s a growth of 26% in just three years. (Source: Gartner, IEEE)
- A majority of healthcare organizations (87 percent) planned to implement IoT tech by the end of 2019. By comparison, 85 percent of non-healthcare businesses planned to do so in that same time period. (Source: IEEE)
- 80 percent of healthcare business executives see increased innovation as the biggest advantage of IoT implementation. 73 percent pointed to cost savings, while 76 percent pointed to “visibility across the organization” as key advantages. (Source: Aruba)
- The most common healthcare IoT devices include patient monitors (64 percent), energy meters (56 percent), and imaging devices (33 percent) (Source: Aruba)
- Over 70 percent of healthcare organizations that use IoT devices utilize them for monitoring and maintenance. (Source: IEEE)
- 50 percent of healthcare IoT is used for remote operation and control, and 47 percent connect their devices to location-based services. (Source: Aruba)
- Security breaches are a significant drawback to IoT. According to IEEE, over 80 percent of healthcare organizations that use IoT devices have suffered a security breach of their IoT devices or infrastructure. (Source: IEEE)
- The most common security threats to IoT were malware (49 percent), human error (39 percent) and DDoS attacks (22 percent). (Source: Aruba)
- The health industry is responsible for 6 percent of global IoT projects, with 55 percent of those occurring in the Americas. (Source: IoT Analytics)
- According to Scand, IoT devices can save healthcare companies a combined $100 billion per year by reducing inefficiencies. (Source: Scand)
Industrial, energy, and construction IoT stats
The manufacturing and industrial sectors are early and fast adopters of IoT technology, a trend currently known as Industry 4.0. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has a heavy focus not on people using machines, but on machine automation with minimal human input thanks to robotics.
IoT is set to allow robots to operate more intelligently in the industrial sector, with a move toward greater efficiency and cost savings. Human operated machinery is decreasing in the manufacturing and industrial sector, making automated IoT that requires a decreasing level of human input a large focus.
Meanwhile, construction is experiencing a bit of a slow adoption with new technologies such as IoT. Although technically part of the industrial sector, construction maintains a set of technological needs that set it apart, even as it shares a lot of the same technical challenges as the wider industrial sector.
There’s a lot of attention on how IoT can be used to improve worker safety in construction, which many workers and industry observers openly welcome. Given the construction industry is among the most dangerous for workers, IoT can help make it safer than ever before, so long as businesses in construction are willing to spend the money to make it happen.
- In Germany, 91 percent of industrial/manufacturing businesses invest in “digital factories” that include IoT solutions. (Source: PwC)
- Companies expect IoT and other digital technologies to improve efficiency by 12 percent. (Source: PwC)
- China uses more industrial robots (many of which are internet-connected in some way) than anyone else in the world. (Source: IFR)
- Asia and Australia collectively are the biggest users of industrial robots. That region currently uses over 60 percent of all worldwide industrial robot units, versus just around 20 percent in Europe, and around 13 percent in the Americas. That margin is expected to grow larger as Asian countries more rapidly grow their automated manufacturing capacity. (Source: IFR)
- More specifically, China is the largest user of industrial robots (over 140,000 units), with Japan in a distant second (almost 50,000 units). (Source: IFR)
- A survey of data analytics professionals in the industrial industry found that most believe the importance of spreadsheets will decline as IoT-enabled devices and other automated business intelligence tools take over. (Source: IoT Analytics)
- Industrial data analytics may cause a few headaches along the way. Only 32 percent of data analytics professionals in the industrial industry state they are “good” or “excellent” at interpreting sensor data correctly. (Source: IoT Analytics)
- Manufacturing IoT grew 84 percent between 2016 and 2017, by far the highest of any industry. (Source: Verizon)
- Commercial drones are a major tool in industrial IoT. Over 40 percent of commercial drones are used for industrial inspection. (Source: Verizon)
- The manufacturing industry poured $183 billion into IoT in 2017. (Source: Verizon)
- IoT Analytics predicts the industrial industry spent over $64 billion on IoT in 2018 and expects Industry 4.0 spending to increase to $310 billion by 2023. (Source: IoT Analytics)
- Notably, there are 6 supporting technologies to pay attention to in Industrial IoT: Additive manufacturing (3D printing), augmented and virtual reality, collaborative robots, connected machine vision, drones / UAVs, and self-driving vehicles). (Source: IoT Analytics)
- Ninety-five percent of construction business operators believe emerging technologies (including IoT) will fundamentally change their industry. A further 74 percent believe a technology disruption will change their industry within the next 5 years. (Source: KPMG)
- Most construction CIOs believe that machine learning and AI will become commonplace in the next five years. (Source: KPMG)
- Seventy-six percent of construction business operators new tech adoption is a part of their strategic plan or vision. This ultimately includes various IoT implementations. More than half (60 percent) have already developed a technology/data road map or business strategy. (Source: KPMG)
- However, only 5 percent see themselves as on the “cutting edge” of construction technology implementation. Most (over 57 percent) see themselves as followers or even behind the curve. (Source: KPMG)
- In 2017, around 12 percent of construction businesses had “just started” using robotics process automation or digital labor, while 4 percent had already implemented them, or were in the process of implementing them across all projects. (Source: KPMG)
- Construction IoT has the potential to vastly reduce various accidents, including backover accidents, by using RFID technology to deliver proximity warnings. (Source: Kanan, Elhassan, & Bensalem, 2017)
- Other areas where IoT is making headway into construction include wearables to monitor worker heart-rate and temperature, concrete curing, sensors to monitor fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear, RFID for inventory management, and GPS for equipment and personnel location tracking. (Source: Tech Bullion)
- Research indicates the data privacy, interoperability, and flexible governance structures were among the most important factors on a company embracing IoT devices. (Source: Ghosh, Edwards, & M. Reza Hosseinim, 2020)
- Industrial IoT makes up 17 percent of all global IoT projects. (Source: IoT Analytics)
Agriculture IoT stats
IoT is ripe for growth in the agriculture sector, which is indeed already rapidly adopting IoT solutions where possible. Agriculture has always been quick to adopt new technologies that make every aspect of the industry faster and more efficient, as profit margins for both large and small-scale farms can be thin and driven by sometimes unpredictable markets.
The “Smart agriculture” or “smart farming” market is predicted to be worth $22 billion by 2025 as farmers worldwide seek to utilize RFID, GPS, drones, sensors, and more to gather actionable data and to automate every part of the process.
- Precision agriculture—a form of agriculture that uses technology to make every aspect of the agriculture process as streamlined and efficient as possible— was valued at 6 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 13.1% from 2021 to 2028. (Source: Grand View Research)
- Hardware solutions, such as sensors, were the biggest part of the Smart Agriculture market in 2017, comprising over 72 percent of the market. (Source: BIS Research)
- According to the USDA, guidance systems (e.g., GPS) had the highest rate of adoption across the agriculture industry, and in 2019, were used on between 45 and 65 percent or more of planted crop acres. (Source: USDA)
- Farmers are also using GPS for soil mapping and variable-rate technologies (which allow farmers to vary crop inputs based on growing conditions) at a rate of around 20 percent per planted acre. (Source: USDA)
- Most guidance systems are used for corn, with almost 70 percent of this crop planted and grown using this technology. (Source: USDA)
- Around 35 percent of planted corn in the US is monitored with yield mapping technology, which uses GPS to map crop yields and moisture levels. (Source: USDA)
- Automated guidance and steering systems are extremely popular for many planted crops, with over 50 percent of rice acres being planted, fertilized and harvested in the US using this technology. (Source: USDA)
- According to IoT Analytics, Smart Agriculture accounts for just 4 percent of all global IoT projects, with nearly 40 percent of those Smart Ag. projects occurring within the Americas. (Source: IoT Analytics)
- As of 2019, 25 percent of rural farms in the US lacked internet connectivity, making most farming IoT solutions difficult to implement. (Source: Viasat)
IoT takes developers, and many organizations are now rolling out IoT development, both in house and using dedicated software development companies. One of the biggest focuses in IoT development is security, as developers look to not only implement stronger security measures in IoT but also to increase IoT solutions for security purposes.
- Over 60 percent of organizations currently use IoT, with only 9 percent that have no IoT implementations at all. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- IoT developers are primarily concerned with security (39 percent), while connectivity (27 percent) and data collection and analytics (26 percent) take the next two spots. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- Most IoT developers are working on developing smart agriculture systems (26 percent), and industrial automation (26%) is another major focus area. However, home automation is losing favor, accounting for just 19% of projects. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- Development in education IoT is a growing area of interest as well, as school systems look to implement IoT as part of the teaching process. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- Excluding Linux, the top two IoT operating system landscapes include Windows and FreeRTOS. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- For devices, the top IoT operating systems include FreeRTOS, Linux, and Zephyr. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- Linux is by the top Edge/Gateway operating system for IoT, comprising 43 percent of all gateways and edge nodes. However, last year, it accounted for over 70%, indicating that developers are open to alternatives like FreeRTOS. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) dominates the IoT market, with 40 percent of IoT developers utilizing AWS. A further 31 percent use Microsoft Azure, while 26 percent use Google Cloud Platform (GCP). (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- For programmers in IoT, C is a popular language for constrained devices, while Java is the most popular for gateway and edge nodes, as well as IoT cloud applications. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- Most IoT developers use Eclipse Desktop IDE (38 percent), while 35 percent use Visual Studio Code. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)
- The top two connectivity protocols used by IoT devices are Wifi (44 percent) and Ethernet (39 percent). Bluetooth and the various cellular protocols are tied in third place, with 37% each. (Source: Eclipse Foundation)