The IoT will represent more than half of the 27 billion internet connected devices and connections expected globally by 2021, according to the latest Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast from networking giant Cisco.
In its 12th annual VNI index, Cisco projects that IoT connections will grow from 5.6 billion in 2017 to 13.7 billion by 2021. These connections will account for 5 percent of global IP traffic by that year, it adds.
The incremental growth, according to the company, will be driven by new machine-to-machine (M2M) services including IoT applications in the areas of the connected home, connected healthcare and connected cars/transportation.
The health sector is forecast to grow the fastest – by 30 percent annually – due to the rise of connected applications such as health monitors and medicine dispensers. The connected car and connected cities applications would grow the second-fastest, according to the index – by 29 percent a year.
A connected revolution
Commenting on the findings, Lee Nolan, solutions director at IT hardware, software and services provider Insight UK, said that they suggest that organizations are in the midst of a technology revolution that could rival the birth of the PC and the mobile.
“IoT is penetrating every aspect of our lives, and there’s a real opportunity for enterprises to reap the rewards,” he said.
However, he added, companies needed to find ways to harness and analyze the data to ensure they can create new revenue streams, provide better customer experiences and become more efficient. He added that that companies should focus on ensuring they have the right infrastructure in place to deal with the vast amount of data they will have to process.
Meanwhile, in light of recent IoT-related cyber attacks, many others within the IT industry are repeating their message that enterprises should take precautions with IoT, and ensure that cybersecurity is baked into any forthcoming IoT strategy.
“Businesses will need robust networks and cybersecurity provisions to make use of connected devices effectively and securely,” said Conway Kodi, head of managed infrastructure services for the EMEIA region at IT services company Fujitsu.
Meanwhile, Darren Anstee, CTO at security software provider Arbor Networks added:
“[Enterprises] need to ensure that security becomes part of the buying decision when selecting devices.
“Attackers continue to leverage the capability out there today, so we need to prevent them from exploiting the even larger numbers of devices that will be there tomorrow.”
Cisco’s VNI Index is just one of many reports attempting to predict the growth of IoT. In February last year, analyst firm ABI Research predicted that the IoT market would reach $100bn by 2020.