KEY POINTS

  • Consumers control their Internet of Things (IoT) devices using software and applications found on IoT remotes — devices that typically have a primary function unrelated to the IoT. Growth in remote adoption indicates that more homes, businesses, and governments will be able to connect and control IoT devices. It also signals further growth in the IoT.
  • We estimate the total installed base for IoT remotes will grow from 5.6 billion in 2015 to 9.5 billion in 2020. PCs and smartphones will be the most prevalent remotes — or primary-choice remotes — accounting for 73% of the total remote installed base in 2020. These remotes offer the most convenience and computing power among the different IoT remotes.
  • Secondary-choice remotes include tablets, smartwatches, connected TVs, and nontraditional remotes. These devices will account for 27% of the installed base of IoT remotes in 2020. Growth in these device categories points to how device makers should react when specific use cases of the IoT take off. For example, if smartwatches were to explode in the healthcare market, enterprise healthcare IoT device makers should build an application to control their devices via the smartwatch.

IoT EcosystemBI Intelligence

The IoT hardware ecosystem is made up of IoT devices and remotes. Remotes enable consumers — anyone who utilizes an IoT device, including a home's resident, a business worker, or a government worker — to connect with and control their IoT devices using software and applications. The proliferation of remotes lays the groundwork for IoT adoption. In this research, we lay out the adoption trajectory for different types of remotes, how remotes differ in terms of their IoT applicability, and why remotes matter for the development of the IoT.

Note: Our installed base forecast takes into account projected yearly shipments of the different device categories alongside device-specific replacement cycle trends. For example, over time, smartphones are expected to have a longer replacement cycle as they expand to nations with networks that do not subsidize phone replacement.

Defining remotes

Remotes primarily consist of smartphones, tablets, PCs, smartwatches, and connected TVs. While these types of remotes typically have user interfaces displayed on screens, this format [...]