By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N> is trying to pave the way for developers to connect more devices to the Web, as its "Internet of Things" business has touched $500 million so far this year, an executive said on Wednesday.
Aimed at connecting to the Internet everything from household devices to industrial machines, the business is growing at a "double-digit" rate, Mike Lanman, senior vice president of enterprise products at Verizon said at an event in San Francisco.
"A large portion of our revenue comes through connectivity but a significant part of it comes from the application layer already," he said in a phone interview after introducing a platform to help customers develop applications in healthcare, agriculture, utilities and connected cars.
Last year, Verizon's annual revenue from the business totaled $585 million.
As the market for smartphones and mobile devices gets saturated, Verizon and its biggest rival AT&T Inc <T.N> are hoping that connecting more objects and appliances to their networks will provide an avenue for growth.
The global Internet of Things market is expected to grow to $1.7 trillion in 2020 from $656 billion in 2014, according to market research firm IDC.
Examples include Verizon's fleet management tracking application and a partnership with Intel Corp <INTC.O> to provide water management sensors in vineyards, Lanman said.
At the event, Verizon also unveiled a chip that Lanman said halves the cost of connecting low data usage devices like dog trackers to high-speed networks.
AT&T has also been working on growing its "Internet of Things" business and previously launched initiatives such as a cloud-based data-analytics platform for companies and a global SIM card for connected cars.
AT&T said last week it added 1.6 million connected devices including 1 million connected cars in the third quarter of 2015.
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Christian Plumb)