Install base of WiFi industrial automation IoT devices reaches 21.3m
Berg Insight says number of wireless IoT devices in industrial automation hit 21.3m
Over 21 million wireless IoT devices were in use in industrial automation settings in 2018, according to Berg Insight.
The analyst company said the install base for wireless IoT devices reached 21.3m last year, while shipments of industrial automation wireless devices reached 4.6m units, accounting for approximately 6 percent of all new connected nodes.
The market is growing at a CAGR of 16.3%, to reach 9.9 million in 2023, while the total install base will reach 21.3 million.
Berg Insight said that while wired networking solutions are still predominantly used for industrial communications between sensors, controllers and systems, wireless solutions have gained a strong foothold in a number of applications. Wireless solutions are used for wire replacement in parts of the plant that are hard to reach or uneconomical to connect through wired installations.
In factory automation, wireless solutions are widely used to control cranes and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in material handling applications. In process automation, wireless technologies are increasingly used to connect instruments, enabling plant operators to monitor and optimise processes in hazardous areas, while also ensuring worker safety.
Industrial users are also deploying wireless networking equipment to connect parts of the plant that cannot be connected with wires.
"Robust connectivity is critical to support industrial IoT use cases surrounding predictive maintenance and digital twins," said Fredrik Stalbrand, IoT Analyst, Berg Insight.
Stlbrand said that installation and maintenance of wireless solutions are more flexible and economical compared to wired technologies, enabling reconfigurable manufacturing system design. Although reliability and security remain a challenge, Wi-Fi has emerged as the most widely used wireless technology in industrial environments largely due to the wide availability of compatible hardware. There is also a growing trend among large industrial companies to deploy private 4G LTE networks instead of using Wi-Fi and even wired solutions.
"The introduction of 5G cellular technologies broadens the addressable market for wireless communications even further as it allows for deployments in situations where requirements related to bandwidth, latency and capacity cannot be fulfilled today," concluded Stalbrand.