The Internet of Fewer Things

Early predictions of 50 billion connected devices by 2020 are being scaled back

4 min read
Photo-illustration: iStockphoto
Photo-illustration: iStockphoto

If you follow discussions about the Internet of Things, you’ve probably heard this stunning prediction at least once: The world will have 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020. Ericsson’s former CEO, Hans Vestburg, was among the first to toss out that number, when he gave a 2010 presentation to shareholders. The following year, Dave Evans, who worked for Cisco at the time, published the same prediction in a white paper.

Today, that figure has arguably done more than any other statistic to set sky-high expectations for potential IoT growth and profits. Remarkably, those projections weren’t even close to the highest at that time. A 2012 IBM forecast predicted 1 trillion connected devices by 2015. “The numbers were getting kind of crazy,” recalls Bill Morelli, director of the IHS Markit division that handles IoT and digital security.

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How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
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 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer
Green

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