The trillion-sensor world is not going to happen anytime soon.
Bernie Cole, Embedded.com's site editor, does a great job each week summarizing a mashup of data about topical subjects. Recently he reported that GE, Cisco, and others predict that, by the end of the decade, about 1 trillion sensors will be deployed and connected to the Internet, with a market value of $15 trillion. This is part of the so-called Internet of Things.
(Daily we're faced with ridiculous IoT hype as if this were some new concept. Has everyone forgotten the notion of "embedded systems"? For about 20 years, we've been building devices with sensors that connect to the Internet; before that, they were hooked up to a variety of ad hoc networks. The IoT is a new marketing buzzword and nothing more.)
Charles Manning, a frequent commenter and email correspondent, applied a bit of engineering analysis to the notion of a trillion sensors. I've scoffed at the 1 trillion number for some time, and now, expanding on Charles' thinking, I am even more convinced that this is all some marketing person's pipe dream.
The web page for the TSensors Summits claims that about 10 billion sensors (or something like that; the wording is unclear) were sold in 2013. So it seems a median of 200 billion will be sold each of the next five years to reach the
1 trillion number.
Does it seem likely that we'll see a jump in shipments from 10 billion a year to 200 billion in the next 12 months? Not really. So presumably the final year of this decade will show the bulk of sales, with far more than 200 billion pushed out the door that year. If shipments double every year, then the aggregate sum of devices will be a bit more than 1 trillion, with about 470 billion shipped in 2019 alone.
According to a Global Issues article titled "Poverty Around the World," about half the people in the world live on less than $2.50 a day. Fully 80% squeak by on less than $10 a day. It's hard to imagine buying sensors instead of food. If the 20% with money represent the market, then 1.6 billion of the expected 8 billion people in the world in 2020 will be buying these devices. Per capita, that's 300 Internet-connected devices each in 2019 alone. How many e-gadgets did you buy last year?
What about IP addresses? Only 4% of today's connections use IPv6; 96% are on IPv4, which can accommodate only 4 billion devices.
Click here to finish reading on EE Times sister site Embedded.com.