As 2021 draws to a close it’s a great time to look back at some of the big trends that are making waves in networking, internet infrastructure, and new construction.

Not surprisingly, many of the pandemic-related trends established in 2020—such as remote working—continued through 2021. However, what we’ve seen this past year is several trends kick into overdrive.

Here’s a quick look at three key trends that integrators, specialists, builders, and electrical contractors need to know.

10 billion IoT devices are now connected to the internet 

It’s no secret the Internet of Things (IoT) market is growing, and growing fast but it’s set to reach a staggering new level in the years to come.

In 2019, McKinsey reported there was an average of 7,600 IoT new devices connecting to the internet every minute. By 2025, that number is expected to increase twenty-fold, with roughly 150,000 new IoT devices connecting to the internet every minute.

Currently, there are around 10 billion IoT devices connected worldwide. By 2025, that number is anticipated to be upwards of 80 billion.

39% of Americans with smart devices upgraded their internet in 2021

As lockdowns, social distancing, and concerns about the spread of COVID-19 kept hundreds of millions of people at home throughout 2020 and 2021, one thing became increasingly clear to many: Their home internet speeds weren’t up to snuff.

From difficulties connecting to virtual meetings, to slowdowns in network speed due to more devices being connected than previously, many people were introduced to the limits of their existing home network for the first time in 2021.

According to Deloitte, 39% of Americans with smart devices did something about it, upgrading their home internet in order to meet the needs of their new at-home lifestyle.

94% of remote workers want to continue remote working

The pandemic forced hundreds of millions of people around the world to work remotely. As it turns out, there was nothing “forced” about it.

According to a recent study by Buffer, 94% of people who started working remotely during the pandemic want to continue doing so, at least some of the time. Not surprisingly, that number climbs to 99% among workers who were already working remotely when the pandemic hit.

The battle for bandwidth continues into 2022 and beyond

The takeaways for ISPs, builders, integrators, and ECs are clear.

Even with the arrival of technology like 5G and Wi-Fi HaLow, it’s critical that homes and businesses today are planned, built, and retrofitted using the latest in accessories to accommodate the rapidly growing demands of our increasingly connected world.

The vast majority of homes today are lacking the bandwidth and infrastructure needed to support the current level growth in remote working and IoT adoption. Consumers, for their part, are ready and willing to upgrade their services to meet their networking needs.

As people now shift into new ways of working from home more permanently, builders and their teams also have an opportunity to think beyond the home office. They can reimagine how to create versatile living spaces that can meet several needs at once, such as dedicated work areas within open concept layouts, so at-home workers can keep an eye on kids while also cooking dinner.