Is a growth rate of 8 billion IoT devices per year, for the next five years right?

I opened my settings tab and turned on my Bluetooth yesterday. I was in a lunch location that is one of my favorites. I was doing a science experiment. How many BT devices have no security or 0000 as their passkey? First off the numbers that were there, without any security was scary (it is a restaurant that seats about 100 people). I always turn my Bluetooth off when I enter a restaurant. First off because of the problem I encountered and secondly because I don’t want to accidentally interact with my device while having lunch with someone.

(I simply started the connection I did not attempt to finish the connection nor Hijack the devices. I did tell the person I was having lunch with that his earbud didn’t have a passcode but none of the devices were hijacked or touched in anyway). P.S a rule of thumb, if you are distracted while carrying your cellular device TURN OFF YOUR WI-FI and Bluetooth before you enter the place you will be distracted in. It is a simple security measure that gives you a quick level of protection.

Many years ago there was a huge discussion about the concept of Message Security vs. Message Hygiene. Where both sides were right, and actually saying similar things, but from different angles. Device security has two sides as well. There is the “secure by default” camp and the “secure by design” camp. Wandering from my table to the bathroom I found 22 devices that had no or 0000 as their passkeys.

First off, it made me realize that the 12 billion devices that are deployed in the IoT universe (or a little more than 1.5 devices per person alive today) are actually distributed differently than you would think. Analysts project and discuss the devices and talk about global deployment. But the reality is that these devices are actually deployed in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America). South America is growing but where the average is 1.5 per person globally, I suspect the real numbers are more like 3 to 4 per person in North America, 1-2 per person in Europe and roughly 1 per person in Asia. That distribution (wholly an estimate on my part) doesn’t take into account the reality of economic change.

If you, however, consider the reality of bandwidth and power, Africa may in fact become the huge growth area for IoT devices. Today the continent has vast areas with limited service (as does South America) that would greatly benefit from the reality of IoT.

So I wonder if the projections of 8-10 billion new devices per year are actually true. In fact, I suspect as the abilities within the sensors begin to increase rapidly the rate of growth may as well. I watched a recent video talking about intelligent farming. Where the farmer would actually utilize IoT water sensors to determine what parts of his or her field needed water and how much water was needed. The same could be done for blights and pests, thought out the world. Now these devices would need to be reliable, low cost and with no valuable components. (Valuable components, left outside anywhere in the world sometimes grow legs and walk away).

As I look around my hosue I have between 12 and 15 IoT devices deployed per family member or just short of 100 deployed devices currently. If we assume that as a gadget person I am probably ahead of a number of curves, let’s just say that 50 devices is the new normal, in roughly three years. That would mean that there would be between 16 and 17 billion devices deployed in the US with another 7 to 8 billion or so million deployed in Canada. Add to that Europe and you would have another 35-40 billion devices deployed. Now Asia, without infrastructure in many countries IoT devices are going to take off, as they operate independent of traditional networks often (connected to your cellular device) we could have more than 75 billion devices deployed. Many of these IoT devices are assembled in Asia, so that number might be light. That would legitimately push the IoT impact from 50 billion devices as the analysts are saying by 2020 to more than 100 billion or more devices by 2020.

I can think, right now of 30 projects that will be done by #mysmartcity in the next two years. Each of those will in order to save money, deploy 100’s of sensors in buildings. 100’s of sensors on streets and everywhere we go. As more and more cars have driver projection systems (by the way those are IoT devices in your car) we will continue to see an explosion.

I suspect the growth rate will be closer to 20 billion devices per year with a ramping process. 12 billion deployed to the beginning of 2016. Another 10 billion deployed in 2016. 15 or so billion devices deployed in 2017. Growing to 18 billion by 2018 and then 20 billion a year or more 2019 and beyond. The easy way to verify these numbers is to simply look at the number of IoT projects on Kickstarter, GoFundMe and IndieGoGo. Frankly my numbers may be a bit light.

Connections are increasing at a rapid rate. The impact of the many devices that are possible with an expanding Internet, are massive. You can quickly find and utilize information that impacts you directly. The rise of IoT is the pre-dawn of the true information age. When I can walk down the street and find get any bit of information I need, that is the information age and a dream fulfilled.


IoT futurist…