How to use market estimates to structure a tech field

Let’s say you want to analyze the technology and business of ‘smart city’. ‘Smart city’ is huge and includes many different technologies. How can you get a first useful approximation for such a vast topic area? And what role do market estimates play?

Here we describe how an innovation analyst could do this.

‘Smart city’ market estimates from Mergeflow

First, we simply searched for “smart city” OR “smart cities” in Mergeflow. Then, we looked at what Mergeflow’s Market Data tool extracted from worldwide “smart city” news, press releases, portals, and so on.

For our search, we got more than 450 smart-city-related market estimates from Mergeflow. In a first overview, Mergeflow displays these data as follows (click to enlarge):

Market estimates related to "smart city", extracted by Mergeflow. For some market segments, there are multiple estimates that differ from each other.
Market estimates related to “smart city”, extracted by Mergeflow. For some market segments, there are several estimates that differ from each other.

The scatterplot in the upper left shows the distribution of “smart city” market estimates. To the right is a tag cloud showing most relevant companies. Below are the largest and fastest-growing markets in the context of “smart city”. Notice that for some market segments, such as IoT, there are several estimates that differ from each other.

Market estimates in the context of your search help you structure your topic. These context estimates include technologies needed for your topic, infrastructures, materials, and applications.

The largest markets

We then looked at market estimates that are related to ‘smart city’ but that are not explicitly on ‘smart city’. We call these estimates context markets. Here are the context markets with the largest estimated size (click on the image to see a larger version):

The market estimates in the context of "smart city" with the biggest estimated size.
The market estimates in the context of “smart city” with the biggest estimated size.

Look at the market segment names. From these segments, you quickly get a sense of the overall topic structure. For example, there are infrastructure technologies such as “IoT” or “wireless internet services”. Then there are applications such as “public safety and security”, and tech fields such as “manufacturing” or “automotive IoT”.

By the way, sometimes it is better not to look at the largest markets, but at the smallest ones. While this might be counter-intuitive, particularly for bringing a new technology to market, niche markets are often better. We explore this in another article, “How to find niche markets for new technologies”.

The fastest-growing markets

Next, we looked at the markets with the biggest estimated growth rates (CAGR).

Mergeflow helps you discover new markets that are expected to grow rapidly. These markets often involve emerging technologies, infrastructures, businesses, and applications.

Here are the top results (click to enlarge):

The fastest-growing (according to estimates) market segments in the context of "smart city".
The fastest-growing (according to estimates) market segments in the context of “smart city”.

It seems that the fast-growing markets are mostly infrastructure. For example, “5G”, “blockchain IoT”, various network technologies, and “fog computing” (also called “edge computing“) could all be considered infrastructure. Again, if there are estimates for the same market segment but with different numbers, we show them all.

Companies

The third type of information that you can use for tech field segmentation, and that Mergeflow extracts, are companies. Here is a companies tag cloud for our smart city markets search:

Companies mentioned in market estimates for the "smart city" context.
Companies mentioned in market estimates for the “smart city” context.

You can now also zoom in on individual companies, to see the markets in which they operate. When we do this for Cree, for example, we see that they operate in lighting markets:

Cree operates in lighting-related markets.
Cree operates in lighting-related markets.

So you can see that companies often provide another way of structuring a tech field.

Would you like to try Mergeflow for structuring your own tech fields? Sign up for a free trial by clicking here.

4 thoughts

  1. Interesting overview. We work with Smart City from an angle that seems to be in the blind zone of Smart city technologists: Smart citizen information and communication. Our take is that Smart cities will struggle to be perceived as smart if they feil to bring relevant information to their citizens at the right time. Where would you place this type of service in your overview?

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