There will be as many as 25 billion devices online by 2020 as the Internet of things revolution takes off, and the proliferation of technologies such as machine-to-machine communications will be the primary driver of the growth, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
"By 2020, the number of connected devices may potentially outnumber connected people by six to one, transforming our concept of the Internet, and society, forever," ITU says in its annual State of Broadband report.
ITU also predicts there will be 10 billion mobile broadband connections as the developing world uses smartphones and tablets as its primary means of Internet connection. The United Nations organization notes mobile devices could help close the digital divide while creating new issues of exclusion based on content and capabilities. "Given the prolific spread of mobile, in the future, the digital divide may no longer describe disparities in access, but instead denote disparities in speed and functionality--or more specifically, what people can do with their mobile devices," the report says.
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