An estimated 8.4 billion internet-connected "things" will be in use globally this year, up 31% from 2016, according to Gartner. By 2020, that number could rise to 20.4 billion.
Greater China, North America and Western Europe are expected to be the biggest users of IoT, comprising 67% of all IoT devices in use in 2017.
While consumer applications represent 63% of IoT applications this year, businesses aren’t far behind. Companies are expected to use 3.1 billion devices in 2017, including smart electric meters and commercial security camera, according to Gartner. While consumers will purchase more devices, businesses will spend more. Businesses alone will drive $964 billion in IoT hardware sales in 2017.
The projections around IoT seem astronomical, but is it really ready for prime time? The rise of IoT devices continue to introduce significant security concerns. Experts have warned for years that few of the devices are adequately protected.
Security is IoT's Achilles' heel, but that hasn't stopped business from rolling out connected devices in specific verticals, such as waste, supply chain and manufacturing. The pay off for having real-time insight is worth the risk for some sectors who see dramatic improvement in metrics tracking and reduction of resource waste.
IoT devices can creep into any part of the business, from air conditioning units to supply chain trackers. As the presence of IoT devices continues to rapidly increase, remaining cognizant of both the benefits and potential concerns remains imperative to the overall health of a business.