IoT devices offer huge potential for components manufacturers

From $9.5B in 2014 to $46B in 2024, the Internet of Things (IoT) device market will represent close to 15 percent of all data processing, according to a new Technologies & Sensors for the Internet of Things report from Yole Développement.

“IoT devices offer huge potential for electronic component manufacturers, but this is clearly not where the value will stop. Most of the added value in IoT solutions will come from the processing of the generated data,” explains Dr Eric Mounier, Senior Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Développement. “In fact, the ratio between electronic components and data processing can reach 1:50 in certain long-term cases.”

This result is easily understandable, since the main purpose of the IoT is to make sensing ubiquitous at a very low cost, resulting in extremely strong price pressure on electronic component manufacturers. Nevertheless, the next five years will be extremely fruitful for device makers; the market should reach $70B by 2018, before decreasing. This period represents a key window in which manufacturers must seize the opportunity to grab a piece of the IoT business pie.

The IoT is a multi-billion dollar market emerging from several different markets (i.e. industrial sensors, wearable electronics and home automation) which will see strong convergence in the next five years. Three industrial and service sectors will be integral to the valorization of this new market:

  • The electronics industry, which will manufacture the sensing devices
  • The communication and cloud data storage industry, which will handle data transmission, storage and processing
  • Service companies, which will valorize the data either through processing or by
    selling to a third party

Some companies have already started positioning themselves in these fields: for example, Oracle and Amazon are developing their cloud computing capabilities; Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions and STMicroelectronics have teams dedicated to the IoT; and Google and Facebook are continuously developing their data processing models while looking to acquire companies linked to data gathering. Of course, not all of them will be winners.

The short-term opportunity lies in the electronics industry. Indeed, very strong price pressure is expected for IoT devices, and strong volumes are expected but at very low cost. Even though the general electronics market will experience strong growth, it will be through decreased costs, increased manufacturing capabilities and reduced margins. This trend has already been seen in the MEMS field over the past few years, and will repeat itself in the future.

The same is to be expected for the cloud computing industry. Large investments in terms of data storage will be needed, but strong price pressure is expected, and an overall low value will be attributed to the physical data. Actually, the war on price has already begun between the major cloud computing companies, which are cutting data storage prices while growing their capabilities.

Meanwhile, on the data processing side, more and more information will be available, and at low cost. The more data, the higher the value, and all of this with low overall infrastructural investment. “Service companies will be the big winners in this field. In order to secure some of this value, hardware and cloud companies will have no choice but to try and integrate themselves vertically in order to valorize themselves and the data they’ll be responsible for! As an example, we expect the overall IoT market to reach $400B in 2024, with $46B coming from hardware, $59B from the cloud and $296B from data processing,” details Dr Guillaume Girardin, Technology & Market Analyst, Yole Développement.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.42.07 AM

The evolution of IoT technologies is mainly focused on heterogeneous integration at device and module levels. The array of technologies available and soon to be available is immense. Nevertheless, sensing modules’ evolution will follow a predefined trend that can be summarized in a series of seven product generations, including large industrial smart sensors, an advanced generation of sensors, and polytronics.

All these results are available in Yole Développement’s report, “Technologies & Sensors for the Internet of Things”, released today. Under this report, analysts present a deep understanding of the IoT value chain structure, application areas and related technologies.

They describe technology trends and challenges as well as IoT devices evolution in the coming years. IoT applications (building automation, transportation, healthcare, industry …) are also highlighted in this technology & market analysis.

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