When a market segment is as white hot as security for the Internet of Things (IoT), researchers estimating its size, scope and potential pay attention to it.
As you might surmise, IoT security is drawing an increasing number of market watchers, with near unanimous forecasts that take us down a singular path to meteoric growth, intense competition and unlimited potential.
Some IoT security projections peg the market to reach the $20 billion-plus range within five years. No disrespect or snark intended--and certainly no intention to pick on analysts--but isn’t it kind of early to get that giddy over a market that’s really in its embryonic stage?
IoT Market Forecast: Some Figures
The latest iteration, this one from MarketsandMarkets, expects IoT security to grow more than four-fold to $29 billion from the $6.7 billion it could measure this year. That’s a compound annual growth rate of a stratospheric 34 percent.
MarketsandMarkets’ forecast spans the network, endpoint, application and cloud security segments across multiple solutions, including identity access management (IAM), device authentication and management, security analytics, and intrusion detection and prevention.
One rationale underlying such optimistic prospects is that security issues may represent the greatest obstacle to growth of the Internet of Things. In other words, IoT security could hamper the market’s growth--but it can also catapult the segment to wow-type heights.
The abridged version: Obstacles equates to growth potential but not necessary growth actualization.
Of course, security is but one segment of the IoT. In many ways, its growth is tied to the development of other solutions--such as supply chain management, inventory and warehouse, smart products and energy management--all of which will have to advance for IoT device and network protection to move ahead as rapidly and meteorically as some contend.
The Overall IoT Market Forecast: Oh My
To put things in perspective, according to a McKinsey report from June 2016 (via Forbes), the overall IoT market has a potential economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion until 2025. Enterprise spending worldwide on IoT technology-based products and services could reach $253 billion in 2021, McKinsey believes.
In a drill down, the consultant pegs the worldwide information and communications technology (ICT) security market at $34 billion to $36 billion by 2020. Mobile security makes up the lion’s share of that figure--between $25 billion and $35 billion--while IoT security accounts for $3 billion to $6 billion, spanning threat detection, identity access management and anti-virus.
So with these examples in tow, who and what is right? The quick answer is no one and everyone. Some of it depends on methodology. MarketsandMarkets, for example, estimates market size by adding up the revenue of the key players and assigning corresponding market shares. McKinsey slices and dices by market segment.
In MarketsandMarkets most recent report--an update of a February, 2017 release, the analyst lists big players Cisco, IBM, Infineon, Intel, Symantec, ARM, NXP Semiconductor, Inside Secure, Gemalto and Trend Micro among those whose IoT security revenue it figures counts the most at this point.
Sizing Up IoT Markets: Tricky Math
That’s one way to size markets, albeit a traditional one, but still only one way. What’s particularly difficult for researchers to consider is the impact of new entrants to the market, breakthrough technology, and unknown events or developments that can and do throw the market a curve ball. In other words, the real stuff that's near impossible to predict but can easily sway markets this way and that.
At this early juncture, IoT security forecasts aren't guesswork but about the best you can say about them is that they're an educated guess. And that will have to do for a while.