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Enough to go around? Connected devices to hit 8 billion

In some eye-popping research figures from the Broadband Technology Service at HIS inc, it is anticipated that over eight billion internet-connected devices – such as tablets, smart TVs, games consoles, smartphones, connected set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and PCS –will be installed worldwide by 2017. This would make there enough for one-and-a-bit each, incredibly enough (keeping in mind the current global population), and will represent a nearly 90 percent increase from 4.3 billion in 2013.

“On average every human being in the world will possess more than one Internet-connected video device by the year 2017—a major milestone for the electronics market,” says Merrick Kingston, senior analyst, Broadband Technology, at IHS. “In practice, ownership of Internet-connected hardware will be concentrated among users whose homes are equipped with broadband connections. We’re quickly approaching a world where the average broadband household contains 10 connected, video-enabled devices. This means that each TV set installed in a broadband-equipped home will be surrounded by three Internet-connected devices.”

The number of connected devices in the mature North American and Western European regions will grow at a relatively modest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent from 2013 to 2017. In contrast, Asia-Pacific will expand at 20 percent during the same period. Driven largely by Chinese demand, Asia-Pacific will add 1.9 billion connected devices to the global installed base between 2013 and 2017.

On the other end of the regional spectrum, sub-Saharan Africa will contribute 145 million net additions to the total installed base during the next four years.

In order to cash in on this massive growth in Internet-connected devices, media companies across the operator, broadcast, consumer electronics manufacturing and over-the-top (OTT) businesses have embraced Internet protocol (IP) video distribution. Big names making a foray into IP video include HBO, Microsoft, DirecTV and Netflix. However, all of these companies face a major challenge: how to wrap consumers into their ecosystems, given the proliferation of platforms, high switching costs and strong incentives for consumers to stay with their existing services.

Back in 2005, PCs comprised 93 percent of all connected devices. By the end of 2017, the base of connected devices will diversify dramatically, with PCs comprising only 23 percent of the connected installed base. Other devices will account for the rest of the market, including smart TVs at 5 percent, consoles  at 2 percent, and smartphones and tablets collectively representing 67 percent.

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