500 Million IP Smart Object Network Devices by 2016

Standards for IP sensor networking such as 6LoWPAN, CoAP and RPL along with advances in sensor networking, cloud computing, and IPv6 addressability has seeded the ecosystem for the coming Internet of Things, according to a recently published report by ON World.

San Diego, CA Nov. 16, 2011— Smart objects that communicate using Internet Protocol (IP) will be the fastest growing segment for sensor networking over the next decade, increasing 450% faster than non-IP based sensor network technologies during this period, according to ON World.

Within the next decade, devices connected to the Internet will eclipse their human users many times over.  Smart objects are a special class of Internet connected devices that are self-aware, self-upgrading, communicate with other smart objects, and are massively scalable.  Since the completion of the 6LoWPAN specification, the transformation to the “Internet of Things” has been accelerating.  A breakthrough for smart object networking came in the summer of 2011 with the advent of a new Web services model called CoAP, a routing protocol called RPL, and cross-industry collaboration on using these protocols.

“Sensor networking has had incredible advances over the past decade and the next decade will see this work combined with cloud processing and IPv6 addressability for ubiquitous smart object networking,” says Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director. “This development will be further accelerated by mobile sensing and the explosion of smart mobile devices and apps.”

The migration to IP smart object networks is underway.  This is demonstrated by the in-progress Smart Grid standards, IPv6 Smart Home platforms by Google and RWE, and a growing number of sensor network systems that communicate using IP. 

A few examples include Smart Grid platforms by Cisco/Itron, Silver Spring and ERDF/Sagemcom; WiFi thermostats by 3M/Golden Power, Ecobee, Intwine and Nest Labs; IPv6 enabled light bulbs by GreenWave Reality and Lighting Science Group; and an IP connected weight scale from Withings. 

A few of ON World’s findings include:

  • By 2016, there will be 480 million IP smart object network devices installed worldwide. 

  • In addition to smart metering and energy management, other promising markets for IP smart object networks include lighting controls, solar panel monitoring, smart charging systems for plug-in electric vehicles, personal sensing devices, and automotive sensor networks.

  • From interviews with 400 end users in several industries, almost half indicate that “IP addressing per end node” is an important or very important consideration.

  • The number of IPv6 patents is increasing but only three companies have been awarded patents that relate to both IPv6 and wireless sensor networking.
  • IP smart object development platforms are available from over a dozen suppliers including Atmel, Dust Networks, Ember, Freescale, GainSpan, Marvell, Maxim, Microchip, Nivis, NXP, Qualcomm Atheros, Sensinode, TI, Watteco and ZMD.

Based on surveys and phone interviews with over 500 individuals, “IP Smart Object Networks” covers the global market opportunity for sensing and control networks with particular emphasis on Internet Protocol (IP) smart object networks.   The report synopsis and a free executive summary are available from:

About ON World:
ON World provides global business intelligence on smart technology markets. Our research reports and information services are sold to Fortune 1000 companies, startups, and investors worldwide.

Media contact:
Mary Purvis
e: purvis at
ph: 858-259-2397


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