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How Many Internet Connections are in the World? Right. Now.

July 29, 2013 - 22 Comments

Right now, in 2013, 80 “things” per second are connecting to the internet.  Next year that number will reach almost 100 per second, and by 2020, more than 250 things will connect each second.

Add all of these numbers up, and we believe that more than 50 billion things  will be connected to the internet by 2020.  Today we’re launching the Cisco Internet of Everything (IoE) Connections Counter so that we can watch in real time as everything comes online.

By the way, what are all of these “things”?  Mobile devices, parking meters, thermostats, cardiac monitors, tires, roads, cars, supermarket shelves, and yes, even cattle.   The list is endless, and it just keeps getting longer and more interesting.  Literally, by the second.

Even more exciting is when all of these things are combined with people, process and data via the network to deliver transformational value to the world by improving the way we make decisions, saving us time and money, and so much more.  That’s the Internet of Everything, and its value increases every time we connect the unconnected.

So we’re paying close attention.  The connections counter will help us keep track of exactly where we are in this journey, starting now and continuing through 2020.

We encourage you to keep track as well.  Cisco invites journalists, analysts and other interested parties to check out the IoE Connections Counter and to feature it in your own content.

Let the countdown to 2020 and 50 billion connections begin!

Our methodology: To estimate the number of connected objects during 2013-20 we first estimated the total number of ‘things’ in the world and then determined the proportion of connected things. For 2012, we had estimated the total number of ‘things’ in the world to be 1.5 trillion and the number of connected objects to be 8.7 billion, implying 0.6% penetration rate of connected objects. We expect the number of things to reach 1.8 trillion in 2020, growing 3% annually. Subsequently, we have assumed that connectivity costs will decline by 25% annually during 2013-20. Conservatively, we assume the price-elasticity of demand to be ~1 and consequently expect annual growth in number of things to be 25% CAGR during 2013-20. Based on these assumptions, we estimate that the number of connected objects to reach ~50 billion in 2020 (or 2.7% of the total things in the world).

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  1. Personally, I think the numbers are way too low. They are failing to take into account the phenomena of critical mass which dictates that once a technology achieves x% market penetration it spikes up to greater than 60% use in a very very short amount of time. I also believe that by 2020 the number will be moot because you won’t be able to purchase something that doesn’t connect up automatically in some way. Just from the point of view of the manufacturer alone, if you can cheaply manufacturer a product that is going to automatically report back to you how and when its used and how often your going to make it with that option.

  2. Thy should show more accurate data on how they get those numbers.

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  5. Just 80! I thought it is more higher.

  6. So what your telling me is that my ip4 router isn’t going to be able to give handle the connections to the world in 5… 4… 3… 2…

    • … nevermind, false alarm. Upgraded router to IPv6, now I am good — I can access my refrigerator from my phone again.

  7. In my opinion, completely internat surfig will be allows free all over wolrd. that means every guys have been updated by every news and give online his preiwe what he think. for telecom company, my sugestion is, for profit they charge only for the downloding.

  8. I wish Cisco would stop creating this unnecessary hype and these pointless “Internet of Everything” Counters. They do not help the engineers and researchers working in this field and such kind of hype might be good for the marketing and corporate communications teams, but is detrimental to the developers and engineers, who have diligently and arduously working on the underlying low-energy protocols, routing algorithms and related IoT/WSN technologies for a long time.

    I’ve been working in the “Internet of Things” domain since 2005, from the time it was called “Wireless Sensor Networks” (before the term IoT started getting featured in every possible report on disruptive innovation). Many researchers have been gradually trying to piece together the complex puzzle of making “a large number” of devices inter-operable. Now suddenly, Cisco does a blitzkrieg of a marketing initiative and renames the industry to “internet of everything”, and makes all these random trillion dollar predictions.

    It’s creating an immense pressure on the technology researchers to start producing products and services which get a piece of this mind-boggling revenue number that you’ve pulled out of a hat.

    I wish you’d get some credible technology researchers to back-up your claims, rather than just publishing these out-of-the-hat kind of counters and $14.4 trillion dollar revenue numbers.

  9. Eventually, humanity could reach the era when the mind is able to make a physical internet connection which will necessitate a tremendous amount of power to operate. That may be the weak link in the chain of future communication.

  10. In countries such as el salvador only 16% of the population is connected to the internet

  11. these figures really give me the creeps, sometimes I think about what would happen if the whole Internet stopped working from one day to another, I think the world would collapse.

  12. I’m not quite fond of the accuracy of this method based on assumptions and expections.

  13. You’re wasting your time with statistics nobody cares about. The network size or density never counts and it’s a normal thing to be in a continuous expansion. Oh, and that stupid counter adds 80 units / second without having any proof of it heh !

  14. Is this really a counter monitoring in real time or is it just blindly adding 80 every second?

  15. very informative article. I came to know how much the internet today. thank you very much for your information

  16. I question these numbers. When you say things like tires, I doubt that. Connected cars, which in turn report the status of the tires and other systems in the car, is more likely. If that is the case, then it is the car which is connected, and that only counts as one connection. At Cisco Live 2013 Orlando, they talked about everything being connected, even house windows. Once again, this is not likely that the window itself would have the direct connection. The house would likely be connected, and monitor and report on its internal components.

    • @Matt: if the house is connected to the windows…or the car is connected to the tire, aren’t those connections? Even if just local connections?

      • Yes it’s local connection but IoE can make it global by connecting and collecting the info from tyre and periodic data will be informed to service centre about the servicing of tyre automatically without a manual check.

    • Matt, this thinking inside the box. It is true that a home gateway might connect all home devices today, or all the devices in a car might connect directly to the car. But the paradigm shift that’s underway now, is to allow all those things to talk directly to the cloud, so that the data is always available from anywhere, without having to worry about the home or car gateway crashing and losing data. Both chipsets and cloud computing are becoming less expensive each day. So in 2020, we might wonder why we ever had a home or car provide a gateway for it’s data, when it’s easier and cheaper to have a car or home object in a cloud instance. It wasn’t so long ago that we asked why we would ever need a PC at every desk, when every desk has a terminal connected to the mainframe. It’s basically the same paradigm shift, only an order of magnitude larger.