The Growth in Connected IoT Devices is Expected to Generate 79.4ZB of Data in 2025, According to a New IDC Forecast

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#DataSphere–The number of devices connected to the Internet, including the machines,
sensors, and cameras that make up the Internet of Things (IoT),
continues to grow at a steady pace. A new forecast from International
Data Corporation (IDC)
estimates that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, or
“things,” generating 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data in 2025.

As the number of connected IoT devices grows, the amount of data
generated by these devices will also grow. Some of this data is small
and bursty, indicating a single metric of a machine’s health, while
large amounts of data can be generated by video surveillance cameras
using computer vision to analyze crowds of people, for example. There is
an obvious direct relationship between all the “things” and the data
these things create. IDC projects that the amount of data created by
these connected IoT devices will see a compound annual growth rate
(CAGR) of 28.7% over the 2018-2025 forecast period. Most of the data is
being generated by video surveillance applications, but other categories
such as industrial and medical will increasingly generate more data over

“As the market continues to mature, IoT increasingly becomes the fabric
enabling the exchange of information from ‘things’, people, and
processes. Data becomes the common denominator – as it is captured,
processed, and used from the nearest and farthest edges of the network
to create value for industries, governments, and individuals’ lives,”
said Carrie
, group vice president, IoT, 5G and Mobility at IDC.
“Understanding the amount of data created from the myriad of connected
devices allows organizations and vendors to build solutions that can
scale in this accelerating data-driven IoT market.”

“Mankind is on a quest to digitize the world and a growing global
DataSphere is the result. The world around us is becoming more
‘sensorized,’ bringing new levels of intelligence and order to personal
and seemingly random environments, and Internet of Things devices are an
integral part of this process,” said David
, senior vice president, IDC’s Global
. “However, with every new connection comes a
responsibility to navigate and manage new security vulnerabilities and
privacy concerns. Companies must address these data hazards as they
advance new levels of efficiency and customer experience.”

While it’s not surprising to see industrial and automotive equipment
represent the largest opportunity of connected “things,” IDC expects to
see strong adoption of household (e.g., smart home) and wearable devices
in the near term. Over the longer term, however, with public safety
concerns, decreasing camera costs, and higher bandwidth options
available (including the deployment of 5G networks offering low latency,
dense coverage, and high bandwidth), video surveillance will grow in
adoption at a rapid rate. Drones, while still early in adoption today,
show great potential to access remote or hard to reach locations and
will also be a big driver of data creation using cameras.

While the video surveillance category will drive a large share of the
IoT data created, the industrial and automotive category will see the
fastest data growth rates over the forecast period with a CAGR of 60%.
This is the result of the increasing number of “things” (other than
video surveillance cameras) that are capturing data continuously as well
as more advanced sensors capturing more (and richer) metrics or machine
functions. This rich data includes audio, image, and video. And, where
analytics and artificial intelligence are magnifying data creation
beyond just the data capture, data per device is growing at a faster
pace than data per video surveillance camera.

It should also be noted that the IoT metadata category is a growing
source of data to be managed and leveraged. IoT metadata is essentially
all the data that is created about other IoT data files. While not
having a direct operational or informational function in a specific data
category (like industrial or video surveillance), metadata provides the
information about the data files captured or created by the IoT device.
Metadata, compared with original source files like a video image, is
very small, sometimes by orders of magnitude. In other cases, however,
metadata can mimic the size of the source file, such as in manufacturing
environment. In all cases, metadata is valuable data that can be
leveraged to inform intelligent systems, drive personalization, or bring
context to seemingly random scenarios or data sets. In other words,
metadata is a prime candidate to be fed into NoSQL databases like
MongoDB to bring structure to unstructured content or fed into cognitive
systems to bring new levels of understanding, intelligence, and order to
outwardly random environments.

The IDC report, Worldwide
Global DataSphere IoT Device and Data Forecast, 2019-2023
#US45066919), provides a forecast of the number of IoT “things” that are
connected as well as the data generated by these things. This forecast
study also categorizes the devices and the data across several
categories including video surveillance, industrial, household, medical,
industry terminals, and other. Definitions of the categories are
included in the Market Definition section at the end of the document.

IDC defines an IoT device as a uniquely identifiable “thing” or endpoint
that can autonomously connect bidirectionally using connectivity to
exchange data via the internet. As these things become connected, they
generate data that allows for monitoring, management, and analysis to be
done on the state of these devices or the surrounding environment.

IDC’s Global
sizes and forecasts data creation, capture, and
replication across 70 categories of content-creating things — including
non-IoT devices as well as IoT devices. The data is then categorized
into the types of data being created to understand various trends in
data usage, consumption, and storage.

About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the
premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and
events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer
technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers
global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry
opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and
insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment
community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their
key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG),
the world’s leading media, data and marketing services company. To learn
more about IDC, please visit
Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC
and LinkedIn.


Carrie MacGillivray
[email protected]

David Reinsel
[email protected]

Michael Shirer
[email protected]

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