Research firm Gartner has predicted that 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use around the world in 2017, up 31 per cent from 2016. These will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), which is seeing constant expansion.

The company also forecast that this will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.

It is expected that total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) in 2017.

According to Gartner, the Greater China region, North America and Western Europe are driving the use of connected things and the three regions together will represent 67 per cent of the overall IoT installed base in 2017.

The consumer segment will make the most use of connected things this year, with 5.2 billion units. This represents 63 per cent of the overall number of applications in use. Businesses are on pace to employ 3.1 billion connected things in 2017.

Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner, said: “Aside from automotive systems, the applications that will be most in use by consumers will be smart TVs and digital set-top boxes, while smart electric meters and commercial security cameras will be most in use by businesses.”

Gartner has also revealed that although consumers purchase more devices, businesses spend more on IoT-connected devices. In 2017, the use of connected things among businesses will drive $964 billion in terms of hardware spending. In comparison, consumer applications will amount to $725 billion this year. However, by 2020, hardware spending from both segments will reach almost $3 trillion.

Denise Rueb, research director at Gartner, explained that IoT services are vital to the rise in IoT devices. She said: “Consumer IoT services are newer and growing off a small base. Similarly, connectivity services are growing robustly as costs drop, and new applications emerge.”

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