NEW YORK — By the end of 2014, more than 6 billion devices will connect to the Internet as a glut of smartphones, tablets, televisions, and laptops come into the market.
In the next 12 months, the number of Internet-connected devices across the globe will rise 6% to 6.18 billion, according to an IHS report published Wednesday. Some of the most popular devices for 2014 are, not surprisingly, video game consoles, media tablets, mobile handsets, LCD TVs, set-top boxes, and laptops.
Game consoles are expected to grow at the fastest rates, with production slated to increase by about 45% over the next 12 months. New versions of Microsoft's Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 are expected to drive the demand.
Media tablet production will increase 25%, and cellphone production will rise 7%. LCD TVs are set to increase 5%, while set-top boxes will increase about 7%.
Devices expected to decline this year include still cameras, desktop PCs, DVD players, portable media players, and camcorders. These devices have been steadily losing ground for some time; many are being replaced by smartphones, tablets, and other integrated devices. For instance, digital still cameras have lost a great deal of ground because of the increasing sophisticated cameras found in smartphones. The overall market for digital still cameras is projected to drop 13% in 2014.
The need for always-on, always-connected access continues to push consumers toward more sophisticated devices. "The improved growth this year of the connected devices industry marks the return of higher production as manufacturers deliver all sorts of connectivity equipment to users," Jagdish Rebello, senior director for information technology at IHS, said in a press release. "Given the voracious appetite of consumers for social media and their yen for always-on connectivity, it’s little surprise that makers will continue to turn out such devices to keep buyers engaged."
The peak years for Internet-connected devices occurred between 2000 and 2007, when annual growth rates hovered at around 20%. The current increase in production is the greatest in four years. Production increased about 10% in 2010, when the world started to come out of its recession. However, the current increase is not due to any such macroeconomic forces.
After 2014, a slowdown in production growth will happen, despite of a continued rise in absolute numbers for total units produced. Between next year and 2017, according to the report, 19.42 billion new Internet-connected devices will appear.
— Zewde Yeraswork, Associate Editor, EE Times