As we continue to advance into a more modern world, technologies, which have now become a key component of the ecosystem, are also witnessing a continuous evolution. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) continue to remain two of the most popular technologies of the era. Although Artificial Intelligence has managed to gain significant traction across many industry verticals, Internet of Things remains a frontrunner in this race of technologies. This is evident from the continuous increase in investments into this sector. The figure given below shows the trends in global Internet of Things market:
Internet of Things Market, in US$ Billion, 2019 to 2025
Source: Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Analysis
With applications ranging from smart city infrastructures and automated factories to smart gadgets including wearable devices, Internet of Things puts to use fairly large arrays of sensors which are responsible for sensing inputs from physical environment and transmitting the data to a computing resource. Sensors sense a wide range of inputs which include sound, temperature, and vibration among many others, convert them into electrical signals, and send the data over the Internet to a computing server which is usually cloud-based. These cloud-based computing platforms have advanced analytics software running on them which convert huge volumes of data into actionable insights which are responsible for sending commands to actuators which enable the solution to react to the inputs sensed by sensors. Although sensors play a critical role in numerous applications across industries, continuous advancements in technologies and increasing expectations of end users from sensors have made it necessary for manufacturers to invest more into research and development. Manufacturers of sensors need to ensure that sensors keep evolving in order to perform a more significant role in the IoT environment.
The expectations from sensors are moving beyond the boundary of facilitating a reliable IoT connection to offering a wider range of benefits which include predictive maintenance and improved productivity among others. While the ability of sensors to convert inputs from physical environment into electrical signals and then transmitting them to a computational resource seems as a fairly good start for them, increasing expectations from them are making it important for manufacturers to add some more functionality and attributed into them in order to strengthen their position in the IoT environment. Lower cost is one such attribute which has been the center of many researches worldwide. Although the cost of many types of sensors is already very low, and some cost way less than a dollar when bought in large volume, end users expect their cost to go down even further so that their deployment in large numbers becomes more economically viable. Since miniaturization is taking over many manufacturing sectors, end users expect sensors, which are already very small-sized components of a solution, to become smaller so as to virtually disappear unobtrusively into the system or environment they are part of. Sensors are also expected to become wireless and consume even less power, as wired connectivity limits their application to only some uses and power adds to the overall cost of their use. End users expect sensors to be robust enough to survive for years without requiring much maintenance and use energy harvesting to become more cost efficient. While these expectations from physical attributes continue to attract attention, the demand for smarter functionality is what is pushing end users towards what the industry calls Smart sensors.
Smart sensors are capable of performing one or all of the many more functions like self-calibration, self-diagnostic of their overall health and self-healing in the event of reaching a stage of potential failure. Smart sensors also offer data pre-processing which significantly reduces the load on network and computing resources. The market growth of smart sensors is closely tied to the growth of industries like aerospace, military and defence, healthcare and government among others. These sectors use sensors for many mission critical applications which require faster computation. Sensors are used in aerospace and military and defence industries for a good number of applications which are rugged in nature. Since smart sensors show attributes and offer functionalities which align perfectly with the requirements of applications across these sectors, their growth is driving with it the demand for smart sensors, thus fuelling the market growth. The market growth is also tied to the growth of automotive industry as this industry is one of the major consumers of various types of sensors. However, declining production of vehicles across the globe is hindering the market growth to some extent. The figure given below shows the trends in global automotive production:
Global Automotive Production, 2011 to 2019
Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
Clearly, the global automotive production witnessed a slump in the years 2018 and 2019. This drop in production for two consecutive years was majorly attributed to shrinking sales of vehicles across the globe and since this sales trend is expected to remain prominent over the next couple of years, this dip in automotive production is also expected to continue. Increasing spread of COVID-19 disease, which broke out in Wuhan, China, in almost every country across the globe has severely affected many sectors like automotive, aviation and many others. Ongoing disruptions in global supply chains, which are being fuelled as countries continue to close their borders as part of their efforts to contain the pandemic, have led to temporary shut-down of many manufacturing facilities. Although production across the affected sectors will see some recovery when the situation improves, recouping completely from the slump will take some time. Manufacturers are cutting short on their capital spending in order to preserve liquidity. This trend is expected to affect the market growth of smart sensors in many countries.
About the Author:
Dhiraj Kumar Sharma is a Market Research Analyst at Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence. He combines his outright understanding of technologies with years of experience working in the industry to deliver actionable information to clients who span across industries and geographies. Dhiraj often works closely with clients in order to better understand their requirements and is known for the quality of market insights he delivers to them.