Digital Signage Biggest Growth Driver For Internet Of Things Business: Report


The tech market intelligence firm International Data Corporation has issued an industry forecast that suggests digital signage is the biggest growth driver globally for the so-called Internet of Things.

The IoT market is expected to grow by 19% this year, says the forecast, with the biggest bump among vertical industries coming for the one that gets stuff on screens.

Digital signage use in retail outlets will grow from $6.0 billion in 2013 to $27.5 billion in 2018, a 35.7% five-year CAGR, as retailers continue to digitize the consumer experience.

IDC’s 2nd annual forecast, says a news release, looks at growing IoT use in 11 vertical industries, including consumer, retail, healthcare, government, manufacturing, transportation, and other industries, while also sizing IoT opportunities for 25 vertical-specific use cases.

Unlike any other research in the industry, the new forecast specifically highlights worldwide spending across IoT use cases, including smart appliances, automated public transit, remote health monitoring, digital signage, connected vehicles, and air traffic monitoring, among others. The comprehensive spending model was designed to help vendors clearly understand the industry-specific opportunity for IoT technologies today.

Other key findings from the new forecast include:

  • The IoT market in manufacturing operations will grow from $42.2 billion in 2013 to $98.8 billion in 2018, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6%. Growth will be driven by ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and link islands of automation.
  • The hottest US market is in connected vehicles, with 34.8% year-over-year growth anticipated in 2015.

According to Bob Kraus, Senior Research Analyst, Global Technology and Industry Research Organization, IDC, “Working in concert with both IDC’s technology and regional analysts, we have built IoT market models for key vertical-specific use cases from the ground up. This forecast is an invaluable tool for those business leaders evaluating the vendor opportunities in IoT for a 12-layer technology stack, which includes modules/sensors, software, installation/ongoing services, and connectivity.”

A forecast update is planned for November 2015 and will evaluate additional vertical-specific use cases, including smart agriculture.

I tend to be very skeptical of companies that generate report after report after report, but unlike what seems like the majority, IDC is focused on IT. Some of the other digital signage sector reports that come out through a year are generated by the same research mills that also issue reports the same day on things like insulin pumps and artificial insemination.

I’ve been doing a bit of work in the IoT market lately, and can see how IoT would be something of a driver. Signage puts a lot of devices in the field – players, smart screens, modems, routers, cameras, readers and on and on. Signage is also a rare industry where the benefits of all those connected devices can be readily apparent through dynamic data on screens.


Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
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  • Steve Gurley says:

    Dave, I haven’t seen the report so you’ll have to help me. How is digital signage in retail a $6 billion market when the entire digital signage industry is not even close to $6 billion?

    • Dave Haynes says:

      I haven’t seen it either, so don’t know. I’m not sure any of the giant numbers that get tossed around liberally are all that relevant, but people like to show them in presentation decks. I do find it interesting that all those screens, and there are now a lot, are seen as big parts of IoT growth.

  • Steve Gurley says:

    Dave, I’m somewhat dubious about the IoT play with digital signage. As you know, we as an industry have been talking about this long before the IoT moniker became popular (probably 10 years or more). You know the drill… pick up a RFID-tagged shirt and the signage switches over to show complementary goods. It all sounds good, but it adds a lot of complexity and moving parts to the equation. I’m not sure the typical digital signage buyer is anywhere near ready to handle this level of complexity. I’m definitely sure that those who sell digital signage are not anywhere near ready for this. I do, however, think that it represents a novelty that DOOH-based campaigns will certainly embrace in greater numbers… but traditional digital signage…. not sure about that. Do you have insights on that that I’m just not aware of?

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