Industrial connected sensors revenue to grow with a CAGR of 19%
Mar 20, 2018
In its latest report, ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, has identified how sensor suppliers can sustain growth as they try to meet the evolving needs of new and existing customers. Some of the key findings include:
- Sensor suppliers need to go to market with gateway suppliers who can provide extra headspace in computing power to process the extra data from more types of sensors on premises.
- Manufacturers need improved access to current and legacy sensor data.
- Sensor suppliers should partner with platform providers, edge processing specialists and digital twin specialists.
“If sensor suppliers hope to sustain the growth they’ve started to see with the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), they must work with other stakeholders in the ecosystem to understand the needs and trends within the IIoT,” says Pierce Owen, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “Only then can they anticipate the future demands of their customers and meet them with new and innovative sensors and other products.”
Increases in the amount, types, and variability of sensor data result in higher demand for edge computing and edge analytics, and improved edge analytics results in more use cases for more types of sensors. This virtuous circle benefits manufacturers who get more out of their data, sensor suppliers who sell more sensors, and edge computing software companies who continue to innovate. As it stands, most manufacturers do not have the computing power at the edge necessary to analyze the heavy workload that comes with the new volume of sensor data. Sensor suppliers must go to market with gateway suppliers and edge analytics specialists to provide this extra headspace.
The largest sensor suppliers sell automation technology or other industrial equipment as their primary business. Often, they build in sensors to new equipment and provide aftermarket sensors to retrofit legacy equipment. Some of these companies have also built their own Industrial Internet of Things platforms. These suppliers include Rockwell, ABB, Bosch, Honeywell, Ormron, Schneider Electric, and Emerson. All the major industrial automation companies also provide sensors, an IIoT platform or both. Because these companies all work on IIoT platforms, they have an opportunity to make purpose-built sensors for IIoT solutions. If end users do not have purpose-built sensors, they face a slow buildup of ‘garbage in and garbage out’.
In addition to the industrial automation companies, IIoT sensor specialists and semiconductor companies have also targeted the manufacturing sector. This includes companies such as 3DSignals, Analog Devices, EpiSensor and Texas Instruments. ABI Research sees these types of companies as having the flexibility to expand partner ecosystems to include multiple industrial automation companies in addition to software companies and platform providers.
“Software companies and platform providers such as PTC, SAP, Siemens, and FogHorn will inject themselves into the decision-making processes of their clients to help them achieve greater ROI. These decisions include choosing new sensor suppliers. At this point, most of these companies view sensors as the far end of the ‘dumb pipe.’ Sensor suppliers should go knock down the doors of these software companies and platform providers to find out how to better serve their needs and change that perception. They need to provide value as a solution partner,” concludes Owen.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Evolution of Sensors for Smart Factory Applications report. This report is part of the company’s Smart Manufacturing research service which includes research, data, and analyst insights.
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