According to a new forecast, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region will invest more than US$6.6 billion in IoT hardware, software, services, and connectivity this year.In its updated its Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide, the International Data Corporation (IDC) notes that the utilities industry is the second largest, with a projected IoT spend of almost US$800 million in 2016. [Smart grid: Siemens predicts growth in Middle East]

The consulting and advisory services firm notes that there are three primary Internet of Things use cases receiving the greatest levels of investment from MEA organisations across these three industries. These include manufacturing operations, freight monitoring and smart grid (electricity).

The smart grid sector is projected to be the second largest IoT market after manufacturing and transportation which are the vertical industries leading the way in terms of IoT investment in MEA.

Boosting the smart grid market is the non-smart meter field devices owned by the electric utility used to control and optimise power flow to ensure efficient, safe, and reliable service.

IoT smart grid devices

[quote] The devices are deployed throughout the electricity distribution grid for tasks such as line sensing, substation automation, and feeder and line equipment control and optimisation. Utility owned in-home devices are included in this category when used for grid operations. [Smart grid: Middle East hot for suppliers as investment and pilots increase]

Apart from manufacturing, transportation and smart grid, remote health monitoring, smart buildings, and smart home concepts will see significant levels of investment over the next few years, says the IDC.

The Internet of Things use cases that will experience the greatest revenue growth over the 2016-2020 forecast period are smart buildings, insurance telematics, and smart grid (gas).

Wale Babalola, a research analyst for telecommunications, IoT, and digital media at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, said: "[Internet of Things] solution deployments across MEA will continue to see increased adoption rates, both in the public and private sectors, as stakeholders begin to realise an immediate return on their investments.

"In addition, the growing development of purpose-built IoT platforms and the continuing proliferation of smart devices will serve as catalysts for IoT adoption across the region's industry spectrum."