By the end of 2014, more than 6 billiondevices 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 ofInternet-connected devices across the globe will rise 6% to 6.18 billion,according to an IHS report published Wednesday. Some of the most populardevices 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 thefastest rates, with production slated to increase by about 45% over the next 12months. New versions of Microsoft"s Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 areexpected to drive the demand.
Media tablet production will increase 25%,and cellphone production will rise 7%. LCD TVs are set to increase 5%, whileset-top boxes will increase about 7%.
Devices expected to decline this yearinclude still cameras, desktop PCs, DVD players, portable media players, andcamcorders. These devices have been steadily losing ground for some time; manyare being replaced by smartphones, tablets, and other integrated devices. Forinstance, digital still cameras have lost a great deal of ground because of theincreasing sophisticated cameras found in smartphones. The overall market fordigital still cameras is projected to drop 13% in 2014.
The need for always-on, always-connectedaccess continues to push consumers toward more sophisticated devices. "Theimproved growth this year of the connected devices industry marks the return ofhigher production as manufacturers deliver all sorts of connectivity equipmentto users," Jagdish Rebello, senior director for information technology atIHS, said in a press release. "Given the voracious appetite of consumersfor social media and their yen for always-on connectivity, it"s little surprisethat makers will continue to turn out such devices to keep buyersengaged."
The peak years for Internet-connecteddevices occurred between 2000 and 2007, when annual growth rates hovered ataround 20%. The current increase in production is the greatest in four oduction increased about 10% in 2010, when the world started to come out ofits recession. However, the current increase is not due to any suchmacroeconomic forces.
After 2014, a slowdown in production growthwill happen, despite of a continued rise in absolute numbers for total unitsproduced. Between next year and 2017, according to the report, 19.42 billionnew Internet-connected devices will appear.