[caption id="attachment_17284" align="aligncenter" width="500"] And in a couple years, most of those newfangled "Web enabled" devices will probably end up here.[/caption] Manufacturers will produce roughly 6.18 billion Internet-enabled devices this year, according to a new report from IHS Technology. That’s a 6 percent increase from 2013, when those same manufacturers produced around 5.82 billion devices; the research firm insists that’s the largest increase in the market since 2010. “The improved growth this year of the connected devices industry marks the return of higher production as manufacturers deliver all sorts of connectivity equipment to users,” Jagdish Rebello, Ph.D., senior director for information technology at IHS, wrote in a statement. “Given the voracious appetite of consumers for social media and their yen for always-on connectivity, it’s little surprise that makers will continue to turn out such devices to keep buyers engaged.” IHS defines “Internet enabled” devices as featuring built-in hardware that allows the user to connect to the Web in “some fashion.” That definition is necessarily broad, encompassing everything from fridges with Web-enabled screens to game consoles and PCs. Gaming consoles will constitute a major portion of this year’s growth, with IHS estimating that sales will increase 45 percent this year on the strength of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. The firm thinks the tablet market will increase by 25 percent over the next twelve months, while smartphones—a slightly more mature market—will enjoy 7 percent growth. Connected televisions could likewise experience significant penetration. But dedicated devices such as digital still cameras and camcorders will see their sales fall, according to IHS. Digital music players such as the iPod will also tumble, as smartphones and streaming services cannibalize that market. In theory, the so-called Internet of Things will bring together billions of “smart devices” and sensors onto enormous networks, resulting in the creation of enormous datasets that various companies, armed with the latest in analytics software, will attempt to mine for piercing insights. Advocates of this future believe that data will make industries more efficient than ever before. But carving all that information into manageable form could end up a Herculean task, and all companies won’t necessarily succeed without an effective strategy for implementing an analytics program.   Image: Zorandim/Shutterstock.com