Embedded devices will soon outnumber people by orders of magnitude!

Catherine pointed me at some really interesting research that she has been doing recently, highlighting the impact of various forecasts for future supply/demand of embedded devices.

Forecasts from the EU’s Artemis initiative predict “more than 16 billion embedded devices by 2010 and over 40 billion by 2020” . [source

The World Wireless Research Forum’s (WWRF) prediction is even more optimistic – “7 trillion devices for 7 billion people by 2017” – in other words, around a thousand devices for every man, woman and child on the planet. [source]


The market for mobile phones and PCs seems to be ultimately bounded by the number of potential users (e.g. population). This is not the case for embedded devices; with so many opportunities for devices as ubiquitous and “invisible” computing elements, the user/device relationship is often nonexistent.