IoT networks to connect 12 billion smart devices by 2027 27 NOVEMBER 2017

Energy market intelligence firm IDTechEx forecasts more than 12 billion smart devices will be connected to Internet of Things (IoT) networks over the next decade.

In a new study, IDTechEx found an increase in deployment of Low Power Wide Area Networks and Wireless Personal Area Networks over the past four years. The majority of IoT networks are being deployed to connect and operate smart city applications, for asset tracking and in the connected agriculture sectors.

New communication technologies will continue emerging during the forecast period. In addition, a new industry which includes sensors using unlicensed spectrum to transmit small packets of data via IoT networks has emerged.

On the other hand, cellular operators developed a new class of licensed spectrum to transmit small packets of data from sensors and related applications, according to the study.

“The large network infrastructure that already exists for such operators means a global IoT network can be launched much faster than unlicensed LPWAN providers building such infrastructure themselves.”

Trends in the IoT networks market

According to the study, these are some of the trends at play in the market:

Smart home – Intelligent building networks are moving past the early adopter stage into the early majority, with government regulation driving the need for connected utilities and intelligent lighting and environmental management being used to make homes and offices more energy efficient, while wireless networks play a key role in the connected building.

Smart City – Governments around the world are investing heavily in adding connected infrastructure to their environments, primarily in street lighting and environmental monitoring solutions among other applications utilising low power wireless networks.

Asset tracking – While GPS is a popular source of asset location, it has high power requirements, making it unsuitable for low power applications, geolocation is possible using several low power networks and providing new methods of pallet, animal and people tracking.

Agriculture – Technology is increasingly entering the agricultural space with new ways to monitor crops, water usage, environmental conditions and other aspects designed to ensure produce uniformity and good yields on farms and vineyards. The long range and low power requirements of LPWAN networks make them ideal for such applications.

The study comprised data collected from interviews with 120 companies including network operators, semiconductor companies, licensing companies and device manufacturers.