The volume of connected devices and the reach of the Internet of Things continues to grow at a staggering rate. Ericcson released their 2016 Mobility Report and they have predicted this rate will increase over the next several years, with IoT connections surpassing mobile connections by 2018.
Overall, the volume of IoT connections is expected to increase from 4.6 billion in 2015 to 15.7 billion in 2021. Among these connections, Ericcson forecasts 27% growth in cellular connectivity. During this same time, PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones will plateau.
Large scale deployments - such as building automation, transportation, fleet management and parking meters - is where most of the cellular IoT growth will occur. Low-latency connections like traffic safety, industrial applications and healthcare - Critical IoT connections - will be slower to adopt cellular connectivity, although market factors will promote the creation of lower latency applications for critical IoT use.
As this growth is occurring, the cooperation between device manufacturers and technology firms will be a key to developing an environment of secure connectivity. Consulting group Bain & Company has a more generous forecast than Ericcson, that 25 billion wired devices will be online by 2020. Bain & Company sees one of the drivers of this growth to be the industrial internet of things and that it could be a more significant contributor than the consumer market. The device manufacturers who can form strategic partnerships will be the ones that define platform standards. The diversity of use cases for networked devices in the IIoT makes it likely that a wide range of vendor platforms will be the norm.