IDC: IoT Spending Forecast To Grow 17 Percent In 2017, A Potential Goldmine For The Channel

A new IDC report has forecast that Internet of Things spending will grow 17 percent in 2017, signifying that customers around the world are ready to shell out money for IoT applications.

"The discussion about IoT has shifted away from the number of devices connected … The true value of IoT is being realized when the software and services come together to enable the capture, interpretation, and action on data produced by IoT endpoints," said Carrie MacGillivray, vice president of Internet of Things and mobility at IDC, in a statement.

The report, released by the market research firm on Wednesday, forecast that the IoT market won't slow down anytime soon. IDC said that organizations continuing to invest in hardware, software, services and connectivity would rack up nearly $1.4 trillion in spending by 2021.

[Related: Cisco Just Invested In This IoT LPWAN Startup]

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Among the predictions that Internet of Things market investments will continue to grow, it's a "no-brainer" for channel partners to get involved in the IoT space, said Reed Wiedower, chief technology officer at New Signature, a Microsoft partner based in Washington, D.C.

"We're making some big investment bets in IoT and we continue to see a large amount of our customers making those sorts of investments as well," he said. "I think the market share analysis shows that there's a lot of different areas in IoT that customers can benefit from – it's not one specific function."

Customers are looking to use Internet of Things technology across an array of diverse applications in the manufacturing, transportation and utility industries, said IDC.

In 2017, IDC forecast that manufacturing operations will see the largest IoT investment at $105 billion, followed by freight monitoring, which will add up to $50 billion.

Other significant investments in the IoT space in 2017 include production asset management, smart building technologies, and smart grid technologies for electricity, gas and water.

While the manufacturing and transportation industries are huge for partners, another large opportunity are the customers who have yet to decide which division of their business can benefit from IoT, said Wiedower.

"There are a huge amount of use cases that organizations can get into, and that's the opportunity for partners," he said. "Most customers won't be sure how to use IoT best unless we help them get to the heart of the business problem."

From a technology perspective, IDC said that hardware would be the largest spending category for businesses in the next few years as they look to modules and sensors to connect their devices. Meanwhile, spending around services, which include content services and IT and installation services, will also see growth, as well as software spending.

On the security side, security hardware investments will increase at a 15.1 percent compound annual growth rate until 2021, while security software investments will see a 16.6 percent CAGR, said the IDC report.

Security services continue to play a big role for the channel as partners look for new ways to tap into the IoT market, said Marc Harrison, president of Silicon East, a Marlboro, N.J.-based Intel partner.

"Everyone investing in IoT is aware that security is a problem, but they don't know where to start… that's where the channel can come into play," he said.