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Nearly 12 billion internet-connected devices will be in use worldwide by the end of 2014, according to a report from research firm Strategy Analytics.This is an average of 1.7 devices for every person on the planet, which will more than double by 2020 to 4.3, when 33 billion devices will be in use, Strategy has forecast.

Driving this next wave of growth will be devices encompassing the Internet of Things, smart home and wearables categories.

Emerging categories alone will connect an additional 17.6 billion devices to the internet by 2020, with the Internet of Things leading rapid growth in new categories including machine-to-machine, smart objects, smart grid and smart cities.

Meanwhile, traditional connected devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, currently account for less than a third of all connected devices in use.

“Back in 2007, PCs accounted for two thirds of internet devices – now it’s only 10 per cent,” commented David Mercer, Strategy principal analyst and report joint author.

“The impact of the internet on daily lives has increased rapidly in recent years. Huge growth potential still lies ahead, in terms of both the number of devices relying on internet connectivity and its geographic reach.”

Andrew Brown, Strategy executive director and report joint author, noted the Internet of Things has already connected five billion devices, and that “we are only at the beginning of this revolution”.

Brown stated smart cities and smart grids are “just two of the ways in which the Internet of Things will touch everyone’s lives over the coming years and decades”.

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