Almost five billion devices will be connected to networks or the internet by the end of this year, an increase of a third on last year, according to international technology research firm, Gartner.

The company is also predicting that, by the end of the century, that figure will have exploded to 25 billion. 

250 million vehicles - or one in every five on the roads - will be among those wirelessly connected devices by 2020 the research finds, providing new services and automated driving capabilities to vehicle users. 

Another area to benefit from the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ will be the kitchen, with Gartner predicting that the food and beverage industry will be saving 15% by 2020 as a result of connected devices. 

The company claims that the use of real-time inventory data collection together with big data analytics will lead to slicker and more efficient supply chain management for those in the catering industry.

Gartner warns that the roll-out of the ‘Internet of Things’ will be complicated by an absence of agreed standards and ecosystems for the technology. 

It predicts that it will take until the end of 2018 before a dominant platform for IoT emerges, and until then multiple providers will battle it out for dominance, with some of the vendors and ecosystems likely to fail.