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Retailers are banking on Internet of Things technologies to catch shoppers' eyes and ultimately increase sales.
International Data Corporation (IDC), an IT analyst firm, forecasts that the market for IoT solutions will grow by 19 percent in 2015. Leading this increased demand is digital signage as retail stores seek new ways to keep their cash registers ringing.
"Digital signage use in retail outlets will grow from $6.0 billion in 2013 to $27.5 billion in 2018, a 35.7 percent five-year CAGR, as retailers continue to digitize the consumer experience," said IDC in a statement.
The world's factories are also hungry for IoT technologies. Looking to increase efficiency and "link islands of automation," IDC predicts that the market for IoT in manufacturing will reach $98.8 billion by 2018, well above the $42.2 billion the industry generated during 2013, while expanding at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6 percent.
Earlier this month, Gartner's Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst, revealed that manufacturers and utility companies were leading the IoT charge.
Currently, factories, power companies and other utility providers have a combined 600 million IoT devices in use between them, more than other verticals. "This makes intuitive sense; control systems using sensors have always been an integral part of manufacturing and automation processes, and we certainly see a lot of smart meter deployments by utilities leading to energy efficiency improvements and operations like automatic billing, energy management and monitoring," he stated.
Like IDC's researchers, Tully predicts that retailers are quickly jumping on the IoT bandwagon and driving new, revenue-generating use cases. "I find this to be a particularly interesting sector with a lot of IoT activity in operations and in customer-facing situations – often involving very innovative technology."
Regardless of the industry vertical, the IoT era will mean a period of adjustment for data center operators.
In April, IDC predicted that IoT workloads would jump 750 percent by 2019 as businesses store, process, analyze and capitalize on the data produced by billions of connected devices. "Equal, or even greater, investments in the IoT platform services residing in the datacenter will be instrumental in delivering the IoT promise of anytime, anywhere, anyhow connectivity and context," stated Rick Villars, vice president of IDC Datacenter and Cloud research.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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