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Industrial wireless sales head for $1bn

01 October, 2006

Industrial wireless sales head for $1bn

Two recent reports on the use of wireless communications in industry paint a picture of a rapidly expanding market embracing new technologies.

The first report, from the ARC Advisory Group, hails wireless as "the most important emerging technology today in manufacturing automation". It predicts that the global market for wireless technologies in industry will record a CAGR of 26% over the coming five years, more than trebling in size from $325.7m last year, to at least $1bn by 2010.

"Manufacturers recognise that wireless can offer cost reductions," explains the report`s principal author, senior ARC analyst, Harry Forbes. "More importantly, they see wireless technologies as an enabler of entirely new business processes that will not only be less expensive, but will be safer, more reliable, and far more transparent than their current manufacturing practices."

New sensor networking and WLAN technologies will make it possible to use large-scale wireless networks to gain visibility into "hidden" processes, assets and activities, ARC predicts. At present, it says, these "invisible" assets are not well integrated into enterprises.

As well as offering a cost-effective means for monitoring equipment and production processes, wireless technologies will also enable real-time decision-making to optimise production and identify maintenance issues before they disrupt production, ARC says.

The second report, from IMS Research, focuses on the various emerging technologies that will allow wireless links to be tailored more accurately the needs of the user and the environment.

IMS predicts that Bluetooth and Zigbee will enjoy substantial growth rates and will challenge more traditional technologies such as WiFi and cellular radio in some applications.

The IMS report looks at the impact of wireless on seven types of industrial equipment and concludes that PLCs will exhibit the highest growth rate in the adoption of on-board wireless connections. Rugged portable computers are the most likely group of products to be wireless enabled, IMS adds.




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