Shift to I/O level: Ethernet value proposition moves down to devices
Dedham, MA — Industrial Ethernet’s migration into the device or I/O level of the automation network hierarchy “signals its continued march downward in the enterprise architecture,” according to a new
ARC Advisory Group
study. The global market for Ethernet-based devices and I/O is predicted to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.5% over the next five years.
. How many nodes?
ARC says market size in 2007 totaled more than 1 million nodes; it is forecast to increase to more than 3 million nodes by 2012. Currently a staple at the control level of automation hierarchy, automation-applicable standards, intelligent implementation strategies, and overall improvements in product reliability have made Ethernet a key option in the most demanding motion control applications, ARC says; more important to growth potential is market emphasis on Ethernet’s commonality rather than its openness.
wants to support their own higher-level protocols,” said ARC vice president Chantal Polsonetti, principal author of
ARC’s Ethernet-based Device Networks Worldwide Outlook
One network technology that enables vertical integration throughout the enterprise over the same network, at least at lower tiers of the network stack, is described as a compelling value proposition for manufacturers, ARC says. Easy network integration and configuration/reconfiguration and the potential for less expensive, flatter architectures and enterprise-wide data exchange that can be used for multiple purposes from process optimization to asset management are now possible, the research firm continues. A common skill base for configuration, installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting reduces need for specialized personnel and provides a broader skill base and more accessible training and support. Ethernet’s global availability and support by key IT and automation vendors makes it more attractive than dedicated industrial networks, ARC says.
Evidence of reduced emphasis on openness versus commonality in industrial Ethernet is seen in the network in embedded applications, where proprietary protocols typically are in use, ARC says, adding that, in motion control, industrial Ethernet is being adopted in single-vendor applications that don’t require the ability to plug-and-play components from different suppliers.
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