Internet of things: More mobiles than humans

There will be more internet-connected mobile devices such assmartphones and 3G tablets than people in the world before the end of the year, according to new research.

A growing category will be internet-connected monitors for "smart metering", video surveilance, maintenance, building automation, healthcare and consumer electronics – a class of device known as "machine-to-machine" (M2M) systems which communicate directly to other computers over the internet without the mediation of humans.

The forecast by the networking giant Cisco says that the growth in the use of smartphones and tablets will see more than 7bn – the world's current population – in use, with huge growth in use in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

But the rapid growth in connected devices will put the existing internet infrastructure under increasing strain, and force internet providers to shift customers and networks over to the next-generation "IPv6" system – which expands the number of devices that can connect directly to the internet from around 4.3bn (using the existing IPv4 system) to a gigantic figure large enough to give every single person their own private IPv4-based internet.


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