Industrial wireless market booming, but still underutilized

Frost & Sullivan research sees market doubling, but end users still don’t see it as a critical improvement


A new research study from Frost & Sullivan projects massive growth for the wireless industrial automation market. While revenues are expected to more than double over the next four years, implementation of wireless technology still is lagging. Analysts attribute this to a lack of understanding about the full potential of wireless.

“End users need to realize that wireless technology not only replaces wires but has the potential to reshape and optimise production process,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Anna Mazurek in a press release this week. “Vendor efforts to promote the technology have fallen short, particularly among the more reluctant potential wireless adopters. Wireless devices manufacturers need to educate end users not only about basic technological features, but also on the full range of usage benefits and opportunities offered by wireless communication.”

The Frost & Sullivan study, “Analysis of Wireless Devices in European Industrial Automation Market,” indicates the wireless market will reach $539.5 million worldwide by 2016, more than double the 2011 revenues of $218 million.

“Wireless devices reduce maintenance costs, boost productivity and improve quality of production,” said Mazurek. “At the same time, initial implementation does not require vast restructuring or expensive machinery replacement. This combination of plant optimisation, quick return on investment and easy installation is highlighting the benefits of industrial wireless automation.”

However, the perception of wireless devices as a non-critical improvement threatens to limit penetration levels. The technology provides end users with connections that are often already covered by wires and likely to last another decade. Moreover, plant managers do not yet perceive wireless technology as the harbinger of significant production process improvements.

“End users will need to be educated on how the technology can be tailored to address their particular needs,” said Mazurek. “The market needs another four to five years of pilot applications and technology trials to address all pending concerns about the technology performance and convince end users on the advantages of deploying industrial wireless devices.”  Edited by CFE Media

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