What Is Attached to Our Global ICT Infrastructure?

How much gear is attached our global ICT infrastructure? Our 2017 inventory counts almost over 24 billion 'edge' items, enough to consume more ICT energy than 'core' infrastructure such as data centers. The latest update to these counts is consumer IoT.

Edge Device Type 2017 Estimate
Mobile Phones 7.7
Business IoT 3.1
Radios 2.7
Other media [1] 2.0
PCs 2.0
Printers, Consumer Broadband [2] 2.0
Televisions 1.7
Tablets 1.0
Landline Phones 1.0
Other Consumer IoT 0.9
Total Items 24.5

[1] STBs, DVRs, DBS dishes
[2] Includes modems & routers for SOHO and residential

Mobile devices - phones and tablets - are the largest segment, now surpassing the global population. Smart devices drive energy consumption in the cloud's data centers and telecom infrastructure.

"Business IoT"does not duplicate other existing counts. Gartner describes these Internet of Things devices: "smart electric meters...commercial security cameras...applications tailored to specific industry verticals (including manufacturing field devices, process sensors for electrical generating plants and real-time location devices for healthcare)".

Much Consumer IoT counts devices already inventoried, such as STBs and TVs. Our "Other Consumer IoT" includes 'wearables' and 'connected cars'.

IoT counts are still a tricky thing. See our discussion, Is A Cow A Device?

All these edge device estimates are for in-service items. They try to exclude items in storage or disposed (e-waste).

Green ICT and media tech.
How the materials in our e-gear play central roles in the problems of conflict minerals and resource insecurity.