"Sometime this month, the 5 billionth device will plug into the
Internet. And in 10 years, that number will grow by more than a
factor of four, according to IMS Research, which tracks the
installed base of equipment that can access the Internet.
"On the surface, this second tidal wave of growth will be driven
by cell phones and new classes of consumer electronics, according
to an IMS statement. But an even bigger driver will be largely
invisible: machine-to-machine communications in various kinds of
smart grids for energy management, surveillance and public safety,
traffic and parking control, and sensor networks.
"Earlier this year, Cisco forecast equally steep growth rates in
personal devices and overall Internet traffic."