The market for the Internet of Things, which refers to the network of Web-connected physical objects -- this includes everything from Nest thermostats, to dishwashers, to heart monitors -- is expected to grow 19% in 2015, according to IT research firm IDC's second annual IoT forecast.
The digital signage market is projected to be a major driver of growth. Thanks to growing use in the retail market, the one part of IoT is expected to grow from $6 billion in 2013 to $27.5 billion in 2018, representing a 35.7% five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
The IDC report, which highlights worldwide spending across IoT use-cases for smart appliances, automated public transit, remote health monitoring, and connected vehicles, among others, focuses on growing IoT use in 11 vertical industries.
While the buzz around IoT is certainly gaining, it's hard to tell what type of an effect this technology will have on corporate IT departments, as well as enterprises of all sizes. While certain segments of the consumer market are seeing some IoT infiltration, and companies are starting to collect data based on sensors, there are still a number of contentious security and privacy issues that need to be worked out.
In the US, the hottest market is expected to be in connected vehicles, with nearly 35% year-over-year growth anticipated in 2015.
Driven by ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and link islands of automation, the IoT market in manufacturing operations will grow from $42.2 billion in 2013 to $98.8 billion in 2018, a five-year growth rate of 18.6%.
According to a report released earlier this week by research firm Berg Insight, global shipments of connected digital signage displays grew by 21.7% to 7.3 million units in 2014.
Market growth is being driven by greater demand for digital signage solutions in a wide spectrum of different markets, as well as technological advancements and a continued decline in prices.
With concurrent expansion in both the high-end segment and the entry-level segment, Berg Insights projects global shipments of digital signage displays will grow at a CAGR of 18.7% in the next five years to reach 17.2 million units by 2019.
The number of connected digital signage displays in active use worldwide is projected to grow from 25.4 million in 2014 at a growth rate of 20%, reaching just less than 64 million in 2019.
Many of the world's leading technology companies, including IBM, Samsung, and ARM, are making major investments in IoT technologies in expectation of an increasingly Web-connected world.
Mergers and acquisitions related to IoT continue to shatter records, with buyers so far this year spending $14.8 billion to purchase 39 IoT-related companies, according to a report earlier this month from 451 Research.
That surpasses the $14.3 billion spent for 62 such companies in all of 2014, which itself was a record-breaking year.
[Read about six obstacles facing IoT.]
For the full year 2014, IoT M&A spending increased fortyfold from 2013's levels -- almost eight times the total spent by acquirers in 2012 and 2013 combined.
Despite market enthusiasm for IoT, consumers worldwide aren't totally sold on the barrage of connected devices.
An April study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Trend Micro found that while a slight majority of consumers believe the benefits of IoT outweigh privacy concerns, 75% feel they do not have any control over their personal information.
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