The number of devices that are connected to the Internet is expected to pass the five billion milestone later this month, according to IMS Research, which forecasts 22 billion Internet connected devices by 2020.

IMS Research’s President, Ian Weightman, said in a statement: “In the first connectivity wave, the bulk of devices connected to the Internet were PCs and laptops plus their associated modem and networking equipment. Today, over 1 billion computers worldwide are regularly connected to the Internet, and this number is growing steadily.”

The second wave of growth is being driven by the cellular industry, and the global number of Internet connected cell phones has now surpassed the number of connected computers, and is growing at a much faster rate. Added to that are emerging Internet connected device sectors such as tablets, netbooks, eBook readers, Internet TVs, digital picture frames, and cameras.

Weightman added: “There will be a number of drivers behind this amazing growth. Firstly, by 2020 we are forecasting that there will be over 6 billion cell phones in use around the world, the great majority of which will be Internet connected. If you then consider that there are around 2.5 billion TVs in use today, and that many of these will be replaced with Internet connected sets, either directly or via a set-top box, you have another tremendous growth area. In addition, as automobile connectivity begins to gain traction, an increasing proportion of the world’s 1.1 billion cars will be replaced over time by models that have Internet connectivity.”

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