The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a buzzword outside just the world of technology, as billions of connected devices now have the capability to communicate between one another and the cloud. Analysts have projected the IoT market to reach a whopping $3 trillion by 2020, as the technology pervades nearly all industries from transportation to connected homes and agriculture.

IoT Devices Have Outnumbered People Since 2008

A recent Business Insider report forecasts that there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet within four years, up from just 10 billion in 2015. Out of the 34 billion, 24 billion will be comprised of IoT-specific devices, while 10 billion will remain traditional computing devices such as smartphones, tablets and smart watches. Networking hardware leader Cisco System Inc. (CSCO) says there have been more IoT devices than people in the world since 2008, yet many consumers are still in the dark when it comes to understanding the IoT. The BI report indicates $6 trillion to be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years. (See also: Legacy Tech Looks Toward an IoT Future.)

How IoT Affects the World

On the consumer side, the IoT is already taking over the digital world via wearable fitness bands, smart watches, connected cars and other gadgets that send data to a central processing hub. On the industrial end, the IoT has the power to enhance manufacturing efficiency, working to control production and energy use, monitor performance, collect data and help make more informed decisions. A recent IDC study concluded that out of 4,500 corporate decision makers in 27 countries, about 33% reported recent deployments of IoT projects, a figure predicted to increase 42% over the next year.

At large, the IoT helps businesses improve their bottom line and better uphold quality standards, presenting a great opportunity for other organizations such as government bodies to adapt and leverage IoT ecosystems. Consumers in demanding more connected devices will help push ahead the IoT revolution, destined to spur a new wave of cybersecurity issues despite all of the benefits. (See also: IoT Behind Wave of Tech M&A.)