This number of connected devices is expected to grow to 30 billion within the next five years.

This past year, the number of IoT-connected devices (such as connected cars, smart home devices, connected industrial equipment) surpassed the number of non-connected devices (smartphones, laptops, and computers).

That’s the word from IoT Analytics’ latest reports on the state of the internet of things, and the year ahead. Of the 21.7 billion active connected devices worldwide, 11.7 billion (or 54%) are internet of things device connections at the end of 2020, the consultancy estimates. This number of connected devices is expected to grow to 30 billion within the next five years.

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IoT Analytics points to the rise of personal and home devices as a key piece of the growing internet of things market. “The pervasive use of personal devices such as fitness wearables further accelerated in the last two years and is expected to continue to do so,” the report’s authors point out. In addition, cellular-connected internet of things devices has been taking the world by storm.

Low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity is another force driving the market: “LPWA enables IoT connections for remote battery-powered devices such as smart meters, containers in logistics, or critical infrastructure like fire hydrants in cities. In 2020 this market reached 423 million IoT connections and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43% to reach 2.5 billion IoT connections by 2025.”

The analysts brand the rise of LPWA networks “is one of the biggest and perhaps the most unexpected connectivity technology success story” within the past decade. “In 2010, almost nobody had heard of LPWA, even five years later the market was so nascent that there were only a few providers with a few million total connections,” the report’s authors state. This past year, LPWA “is enjoying strong momentum. Some people believe that by 2030, the number of LPWA IoT connections could outnumber that of any other IoT connectivity technology. “