More Than 8 Billion Devices Worldwide Are Connected to the Internet
Officially, there is now a connected device in use for every man, woman and child in the world -- and then some. A new study by London-based IHS Inc. has determined that at the end of 2015, there were 8.1 billion connected smartphones, tablets, personal computers, TVs, TV-attached devices and audio devices in use worldwide. The world population is currently at about 7.4 billion.
Released Friday, the IHS Technology Connected Device Market Monitor study found that on average, across the globe, the 8.1 billion total equates to around four devices per household. The IHS report examined the key trends and data for markets including global devices, over the top (OTT) and pay TV multiscreen.
Driving Media Consumption
"The proliferation of media-enabled connected endpoints has implications for media consumption, media production, broadband infrastructure, and the business itself of network management and traffic discrimination,” said Merrick Kingston, who analyzes connected-home issues for IHS Technology, in a statement. "It drives media consumption, IP traffic and more."
IHS also found that smartphones now outnumber tablets by a ratio of five to one. Smartphones contribute roughly half a billion new devices to the market every year, IHS said. The markets for tablets and OTT set-tops are also growing rapidly, but not nearly at the pace of smartphones. By 2020, the gap between smartphones and tablets will only get wider, according to the company. Within the forecast period, the smartphone-to-tablet ratio is predicted to grow to nearly 10:1.
Chromecast Leapfrogs Apple TV
The latest IHS Technology reports also tracked some changes in media-enabled hardware ecosystem -- notably that Google’s Chromecast streaming technology is outpacing Apple TV. Chromecast has historically had trouble outselling Apple TV, but that changed during the first quarter of this year when Apple TV shipped 1.7 million units compared to Google's 3.2 million Chromecast units.
Kingston speculated that Chromecast will stay in the lead, noting that since the introduction of the fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple and Google have pursued different strategies in how their respective products are sold. While Apple TV sells for $149 and is being marketed toward existing Apple and iOS users who want a hub for digital video, the $35 Chromecast is a no-frills casting device that many users love for its simplicity.
Netflix Is Rolling
Also on the streaming front, Netflix now has a presence across 32 percent of connected devices in the United States, according to IHS. As of the end of last year, Netflix was running on 339 million connected devices in the U.S. Kingston pointed to Netflix’s ongoing device strategy as a key reason for its dominance, saying that the ubiquity of the service makes it both a rival and a companion to most other video services offered in North America.
The time when any one multiscreen pay TV service could claim exclusivity to a device or platform is rapidly ending, with pay TV media apps likely to increasingly co-exist with Netflix on consumers’ devices, IHS said.