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More machine-to-machine talk than people-to-people talk predicted

The Internet of Things, it appears, is not sci fi. It’s here and now, according to the New York Times. And getting bigger all the time.

Berg Insight, a research firm in Goteborg, Sweden, says the number of machine-to-machine devices using the world’s wireless networks reached 108 million in 2011 and will at least triple that by 2017. Ericsson, the leading maker of wireless network equipment, sees as many as 50 billion machines connected by 2020. Only 10 billion or so are likely to be cellphones and tablet computers. The rest will be machines, talking not to us, but to each other.

The combined level of robotic chatter on the world’s wireless networks — measured in the digital data load they exert on networks — is likely soon to exceed that generated by the sum of all human voice conversations taking place on wireless grids.

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