Predictions about the potential size of the Internet of Things (IoT) keep changing. According to IDC, the market for IoT applications reached as much as $1.9 trillion last year — and the value of the market will more than triple in the near future, reaching $7.1 trillion by 2020. 

There have been some absolutely staggering predictions about the IoT already from the likes of Cisco CEO John Chambers, who is throwing around numbers like $19 trillion.

A lot of "things," apparently, despite the fact it is not even clear at this point what the IoT is going to look like or include. 

Big By Any Measure

The IDC's $7.1 trillion figure is worth keeping in mind, especially since it takes into consideration a number of changes that will greatly help along growth. 

The projections are detailed in IDCs new report, Worldwide and Regional Internet of Things (IoT) 2014–2020 Forecast (fee charge), which defines the IoT as a network of uniquely identifiable endpoints (or "things") that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity – be it locally or globally.

According to IDC Vice President for Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer, Network, Telecom and Sustainability Research Vernon Turner, consumers are beginning to embrace the idea of constant connectivity, which is making the idea of a consumer IoT a compelling proposition.

Businesses are embracing it, too. With remote and in-house workforces, the IoT promises options for efficiency, productivity and streamlined processes.

"Businesses are taking the necessary steps to gain a deeper understanding of IoT, and the overall value and technology vendors are evolving their solutions in a supply driven market that's edging toward becoming a more demand driven market,” Turner writes. 

Learning Opportunities

What the IoT Includes

In fact, according to the research, the kind of applications that are now falling under the IoT umbrella include intelligent and embedded systems, connectivity services, infrastructure services and purpose built IoT platforms, as well as all the elements that will be needed to ensure that the IoT is secure in the future. 

The research also suggests that, unsurprisingly, the developed regions will, at least initially, make up the lion’s share of the market with 90 percent of the installed units.

Growth of the IoT market and the applications associated with it will experience in the region of 18 percent compound growth for the next seven years.

IDC is also predicting that competition in the IoT space is going to get very stiff, as product offerings start to become differentiated particularly around holistic solution offerings that incorporate smart analytics and supplications.

IDC Internet of Things Infographic.jpg

Title image by Antony McAulay / Shutterstock.