Ericsson CEO Predicts 50 Billion Internet Connected Devices by 2020

In 10 years there will be 50 billion devices connected to the web, declared Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg yesterday. That differs from Intel’s estimates that by 2015 the world will have 15 billion connected devices up from 5 billion now. However, the point is the same — mobile broadband and cheap chips equal a connected network of gadgets.

Vestberg highlighted the benefits of connected health-care devices, which we’ve also featured. The smart grid (GigaOM Pro sub req’d) and the potential for connected appliances also will bring more devices online, in addition to the already proliferating connected consumer electronics devices like televisions, cameras and game consoles. Already, the carriers are salivating at the prospect of providing cellular connections to these products and have set up divisions dedicated to machine-to-machine connectivity, but Wi-Fi is also a contender as the wireless backhaul to the web.

Large-scale projects such as Hewlett-Packard’s CeNSE network will also drive the number of connected devices, as will tracking modules for managing a company’s inventory or supply chain. So for those eyeing Ericsson’s connected future with skepticism, know that the technology already exists in the form of wireless broadband options, while more chips to provide the brains combined with radios will start hitting the markets in the next few years. We’re just waiting on the business models and deployments.

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