Some 4.9 billion connected “things” will be in use in 2015, up 30% from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020, according to recent research from Gartner Inc. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a powerful force for business transformation, the firm says, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society.

“The digital shift instigated by the Nexus of Forces—cloud, mobile, social and information—and boosted by IoT, threatens many existing businesses,” Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. “They have no choice but to pursue IoT, like they’ve done with the consumerization of IT.”

The sudden expansion of connected things will boost the economic impact of the IoT as consumers, businesses, city authorities, hospitals and many other entities find new ways in which to exploit the technology, the report says.

Gartner estimates that IoT will support total services spending of $69.5 billion in 2015 and $263 billion by 2020. Consumer applications will drive the number of connected things, while enterprise apps will account for most of the revenue. Gartner estimates that 2.9 billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector in 2015 and will reach over 13 billion in 2020. The automotive sector will show the highest growth rate at 96% in 2015.

In terms of industries, manufacturing, utilities and transportation will be the top three verticals using IoT in 2015, with a combined 736 million connected things in use. By 2020, Gartner says, the ranking will change with utilities in the top spot, followed by manufacturing and government.

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